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NBC tells LGBT employees it will keep them safe during Sochi Olympics

Friday, August 9, 2013

NEW YORK — NBC is assuring its gay and lesbian employees who may cover the Winter Olympics in Sochi that it will do everything possible to keep them safe following Russia’s passage of anti-gay law.

The network said in a memo that it finds Russia’s law and the prejudices it represents to be “deeply troubling and diametrically opposed to everything that the Olympics symbolize.”

The note by Craig Robinson, NBC Universal’s executive vice president and chief diversity officer, was sent Thursday to all company employees who have identified themselves as gay or lesbian.

Russia’s law, signed by President Vladimir Putin in June, bans “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” and sets fines for those who hold gay pride rallies. It is a growing issue leading up to the Feb. 7-23 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

NBC and its cable partners are telecasting the Olympics in the United States. It’s not sure how many employees they will be sending to Sochi . In past Olympics, some 3,000 people worked during the games for NBC, although some of them were not in the host country.

Robinson wrote in his memo that “your security is paramount and we will do everything possible to protect the rights, safety and well-being of our employees.”

He said that Russia’s law violates the International Olympic Committee’s charter calling sports a human right that every individual must be able to practice without discrimination.

“The spirit of the Olympic Games is about unifying people and countries through the celebration of sport and it is our very strong hope that spirit prevails,” Robinson wrote. “Until then, we have and will continue to cover these human rights violations on our broadcast and cable news networks as the story continues to evolve.”

Some gay and lesbian rights organizations have called for a boycott of the Olympics over the issue.

Andrew Miller, a member of the rights group Queer Nation, said he b elieves any response to Russia’s law must extend beyond Sochi and protect gay and lesbian Russians after the Olympics are over.

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69 more reader comments:

  1. oh yeah right

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:02pm
  2. Cowards, why don´t they just boycot

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:02pm
  3. Keep them safe? Are they kidding? Move the damn games!

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:04pm
  4. are they going to be bringing loaded guns with them?

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:04pm
  5. how kind of them.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:05pm
  6. NBC security trumps Russian police, in Russia? Tell me how that works exactly.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:05pm
  7. I am pretty sure I would not trust my safety to anyone in this situation. Very scary. Why are we going?

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:05pm
  8. How will they do that. They will provide them bodyguard for all their comings and goings?

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:06pm
  9. Keeping them safe would mean not sending them there in the first place.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:06pm
  10. NBC should, in reality, back out. I am upset that they haven´t yet. The best way to keep them safe is to refuse to go.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:07pm
  11. Well, that is nice and all….but just how big is the NBC militia?

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:07pm
  12. Money talks. No one wants to lose any money in this. No human rights will make them back down.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:08pm
  13. So, NBC is claiming to have international authority to subvert another nation´s criminal laws on their own soil?..

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:09pm
  14. I guess they are not going,,that is the only way to be safe,,

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:09pm
  15. Good luck with that …

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:10pm
  16. NBC? Oh you mean that channel I will never watch again if they participate in the Olympics? you mean THAT NBC?

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:10pm
  17. It´s all about the money and the hell with the LGBTQ people being tortured and murdered in Russia

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:16pm
  18. Hmmmmm

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:16pm
  19. NBC vs. Russia . . .yeah, no.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:17pm
  20. let´s hope so safety is a big issue

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:20pm
  21. Olympics is only the beginning of fighting for human rights…but it is a big opportunity to make issues known to the world…and put pressure on the hosting country to back off and change their opionions and law…that valuates humanity as a whole…we can not tolerate another holocost

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:26pm
  22. sure it will…

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:26pm
  23. Love Andy Cohen´s comment on ´See What Happens Live´ he said “Hey Russia, know what they call Winter Olympics without gays? Winter!”

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:26pm
  24. This is just plain bull shit. NBC is chasing the dollar rather than fostering a cause – equality – Equality for all of its employees. If they believe that this level of discrimination and violence directed against the LGBT community is wrong, then they should boycott the Olympics. They just don´t get it. What they are suggesting is akin to saying that it would have been appropriate to tolerate the violence and the racism that let to the boycott of the buses in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955-1956? What this says would be akin to tell the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to tolerate it and ride the buses anyway. WRONG, NBC. Just plain wrong.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:27pm
  25. Considering even the IOC can´t get a firm answer out of the Russin government just HOW does NBC think it´s going to keep it´s employees “safe”? Are they even aware that “straight” looking people are being attacked in the streets for “looking” gay?

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:31pm
  26. Riiiiiiiight. Good luck with that.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:38pm
  27. The question is not, “Who will keep the visitors safe?” The question is, “Who will keep the Russian LGBTs safe after the visitors have had their fun and left?”

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 9:56pm
  28. This is turning into a circus. I would NOT go.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:02pm
  29. NBC, you´re only interested in Ratings and the money that´s coming in,due to the coverage of this 2014 Olympics. You CAN NOT be everywhere all at the same time,so….,just How do you expect to protect your employees ? When one is getting his/her head kicked in on some street corner,because she/he is ” percived to be ” gay !

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:04pm
  30. Of course they will. Has NBC also told them about a bridge in Brooklyn that is for sale? How dumb does the network, aka Comcast, think LGBT people are?

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:09pm
  31. The media will not support boycott sochi …to much money involved!

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:10pm
  32. NBC can not guarantee that.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:12pm
  33. I don´t understand why they have not revoked russia´s right to host the Olympics, hosting the Olympics is an honor and there´s Nothing honorible about russia´s anti-gay laws. Trade embargo. Don´t reward them with hosting the Olympics. There is nothing hospitable about putin´s russia.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:18pm
  34. NBC can´t tell the Russian gov´t to stop enforcing its laws against its employees. They´re LIARS. This is about profits over human rights. It has been from day one.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:23pm
  35. If there isn´t a change of venue, Boycott the Olympics, NBC and Comcast and anyone else who still talks of the games in russia. Please! I don´t believe in rewards for assholes.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:24pm
  36. I´m boycotting. It´s utter bullshit that the IOC hasn´t decided to at least convene to discuss relocating! Say No to Sochi!

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:28pm
  37. What a joke. What are they going to do, give them all armed guards?

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:29pm
  38. They and we should NOT be there….PERIOD!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:46pm
  39. Meaning it might not be enough. I am boycotting the olympics.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:51pm
  40. I imagine they´ll confine all GLBTQ athletes to the Olympic Village…

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:53pm
  41. So NBC has an armed military itself & can take on the KGB? I´m impressed!

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 11:01pm
  42. Maybe the US government could issue temporary diplomatic passports to those athletes so they cannot be arrested or detained…..hmmm….but in any case I am glad to see NBC say something affirming! :)

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 11:20pm
  43. And who will keep the LGBT community of Russia safe?

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 11:23pm
  44. NBC should join the BOYCOTT. NBC should join the BOYCOTT. NBC should join the BOYCOTT. NBC should join the BOYCOTT. NBC should join the BOYCOTT. NBC should join the BOYCOTT. NBC should join the BOYCOTT.

    Posted on Friday, August 9, 2013 at 11:35pm
  45. GET A GUN !

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 12:14am
  46. how can NBC guarantee that they´re going to keep their LGBT employees safe? Are those employees going to be walking around with guards? I don´t think that NBC´s owner or execs should allow NBC to broadcast the Olympics. Any American company who advertises the Olympics in Russia is essentially slapping the faces of all LGBT American as well as slapping the faces of the LGBT community internationally. I don´t know how companies can say that they support the LGBT community and then sponsors the Olympics should be boycotted.

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 12:21am
  47. We actually have to WORRY about the safety of our Olympians and network employees??? sounds contradictory to the supposed peaceful atmosphere that the Olympics should present! Sucks!

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 12:24am
  48. And how will they do that .. not let them go any where???

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 12:26am
  49. “..but if you end up getting physically harmed or thrown into prison, hey we tried.”

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 12:40am
  50. ?!?!?!?!?!? Um, DUH?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? PULL THE GAMES FROM SOCHI!

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 12:47am
  51. they really can´t do that.

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 1:03am
  52. how deoes it plan on keeping ppl safe?

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 1:04am
  53. How do they intend to keep their employees safe?
    The only thing I can think of right now is, for them to keep them safe from the citizens, but how would they prevent arrest?
    Sure, even if nobody beats them to death while walking around town, what happens when the cops come to arrest them?
    They´re going to have to go against the police? The LAW that the country has?
    I´m very intrigued.

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 1:16am
  54. Bullshit, that´s like sending 35 people into a freezing blizzard with tennis shoes, short sleeve shirts, and shorts and said we´ll protect you from freezing to death with a match by itself. NBC grow up and tell Russia no coverage without repeaing the hate laws.

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 1:18am
  55. NBC should refuse to cover the Russia

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 1:36am
  56. move the games back to Canada, the only way to keep them safe !!

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 2:57am
  57. All Bs. If this was about Jewish, Black or Christians or just about any group but the gays, I believe there wouldn´t be a debate. Move the Olympics to Vancouver.

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 3:01am
  58. How is a Network going to keep its employees safe from a government as powerful as Russia? This is no different than the IOC guaranteeing that no athlete or their family or fans that are gay or supporters of gay rights will be persecuted while in Russia. Neither the IOC or NBC can make such a promise. Putin can have them all jailed at the drop of a hat anytime he wants while they´re in his country, and no amount of pleading with him is going to change his mind. They´re all so desperate to make money off of this thing that they´ll make any toothless promise to everyone to make sure the Games happen by any means necessary.

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 3:06am
  59. Back in the Closet again……

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 3:31am
  60. putin is a scumbag not to be trusted

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 5:27am
  61. Thanks, NBC!

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 6:01am
  62. Just saying….how would the russian government know who is lgbtq and who isn´t? I mean are those who are walking around holding signs or announcing it to everone?

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 10:21am
  63. And just how does NBC plan on protecting them?

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 10:24am
  64. Who will protect the Russian LGBT people? If any gay or lesbian people go, they should hold hands and carry the biggest pride flag they can find!!

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 12:48pm
  65. WHATEVER! Unless NBC is deploying their own army, just what the fuck can they DO to ´protect´ anyone!!!?????

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 1:13pm
  66. is wondering HOW they can claim that?

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 1:51pm
  67. America should still have pulled out. Sure the employees will be safe, right. Come on….

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 2:35pm
  68. Move the Olympics to a more cordial setting.. where it is deserved.

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 3:01pm
  69. they better be ready to keep that promise!

    Posted on Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 5:07pm