Six easy ways to turn the heat on Vladimir Putin to stop targeting gays and lesbians

Exert pressure on the International Olympic Committee's TOP sponsors

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      Every Thursday morning, I appear as a guest on Co-op Radio's Media Mornings show (100.5 FM) to discuss political issues.

      Today, host Irwin Oostindie asked me what lessons activists can learn from Vancouver Olympic experience in opposing Russia's outrageous crackdown on the LGBT community.

      I explained that the key to understanding the Olympics is to think of it as a franchise operation.

      The head office is the International Olympic Commiteee, which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

      The host cities, such as Sochi and Vancouver, are the equivalent of local storefront operations.

      The host cities will sell domestic sponsorships to help fund the Winter Olympics.

      Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee raises money by selling broadcast rights and maintaining its lucrative relationships with the so-called TOP sponsors.

      The money gets divided up with head office calling the shots.

      The 10 global corporations in the TOP program are major financiers of the Olympics and include giants like Samsung and Dow.

      When the CEOs of these companies say "Jump!", IOC president Jacques Rogge answers "How high?"

      Rogge is not going to want Putin jeopardizing the IOC's revenue base and pissing off the IOC's major backers.

      The Canadian and U.S. governments are not likely to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics, even as Vladimir Putin's thugs are beating, arresting, and sometimes killing gays and lesbians.

      So consumers will have to take matters into their own hands to ramp up the pressure for equal rights in Russia.

      Here are six relatively pain-free things you can do:

      1. Drink Pepsi instead of Coca-Cola, which is TOP sponsor.

      2. If you're in the mood for fast food, eat at A&W or Wendy's or Burger King instead of McDonald's, which is a TOP sponsor.

      3. If you have a Visa and a Mastercard, use Mastercard because Visa is a TOP sponsor. 

      4. Don't buy anything made by General Electric until Putin reverses the repression. Here's a list of products made by GE, which is another TOP sponsor.

      5. Don't buy products made by Proctor & Gamble, which is yet another TOP sponsor. This includes a long list of brands. Avoid Gillette, Pantene, Old Spice, Clairol, Crest, Vicks, Tampax, Ivory Snow, Cascade, Cheer, and Pampers, to name a few.

      6. Avoid watching anything on NBC, which has U.S. rights from the IOC to broadcast the Olympics.

      If enough North Americans take these simple six steps, Rogge will get on the phone to Putin in no time and tell him to back off.




      Aug 30, 2013 at 5:38am

      too bad putin represents the majority opinion. I've lived and traveled throughout northern and eastern europe including russia..these countries are full of neo-nazis and skinheads. most russians hate homosexuals.

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      Dennis Ryan

      Aug 30, 2013 at 10:24am

      to lol. It's also too bad that the thuggery can't be traced back to Putin himself, whomn I'm sure is giving the orders here. Being able to put him on trial for these crimes, as far fetched as that sounds right now, might help. But please correct me if I'm wrong on this.

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      The Putin Games

      Aug 30, 2013 at 11:20am

      We want to focus the world's attention on this and perhaps bring the rest of Russia into the new millennium.
      Rainbow Snowflake Campaign

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      Dave Harper

      Aug 30, 2013 at 9:48pm

      These six suggestions are easy to do and will be far more effective than any campaign or protest. Wee tought out, Charlie.

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      Aug 31, 2013 at 1:18am

      i have no idea if you are wrong. but my experience was that a culture of homophobia is the norm there, and that a particular leader isn't really the issue.


      Sep 2, 2013 at 7:39am

      How is not using Visa, giving up Tampax, and not watching NBC easy?!?