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Activist group protests outside ‘Today’ show over NBC Olympic coverage

Thursday, January 16, 2014
Queer Nation activists demonstrate outside NBC studios in New York on Thursday during a live broadcast of the Today show.

Queer Nation NY
Queer Nation activists demonstrate outside NBC studios in New York on Thursday during a live broadcast of the Today show.

NEW YORK — A dozen members of the gay rights activist group Queer Nation demonstrated outside the broadcast of NBC’s Today Show on Thursday, demanding that NBC report on the Russian government’s ongoing attacks on LGBT people and its and other human rights violations.

Carrying a banner reading “Human Rights Yes, Russian Lies Nyet,” activists chanted “Human rights are not a Game, Putin’s lies kill!” just as the Today Show went live at 8 a.m.. EST, surprising anchor Matt Lauer, who was standing in Rockefeller Plaza outside of the NBC studios, from which the Today Show is broadcast.

Lauer, who was interviewing the Today Show audience members who gather outside the studio, will anchor NBC’s Olympic coverage from Sochi. Onlookers turned away from NBC’s cameras to watch the protest.

“NBC and Matt Lauer will have remarkable access to Vladimir Putin and the Russian LGBT community,” said Ken Kidd, one of the Queer Nation protesters. “Along with that comes the responsibility to report the real news. We are putting NBC on notice: Making Sochi a two-week travelogue infomercial for Putin would turn NBC into his media collaborators.”

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Police led the chanting protesters away from the plaza after 10 minutes. There were no arrests.

NBC is the exclusive network for the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month.

In a related protest, two members of Queer Nation NY confronted figure skater Brian Boitano at an appearance Wednesday night at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan.

Boitano, one of three openly gay athletes chosen by President Barack Obama to represent the U.S. in Sochi, has remained silent on Russia’s anti-LGBT laws, insisting instead that athletes and spectators respect Russian law when they travel to the Olympics.

Boitano made no remarks during the ten-minute confrontation.

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Filed under: Newsmakers, Olympics

12 more reader comments:

  1. yeah !!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 10:34pm
  2. Boycott NBC AND ALL OLYMPIC COVERAGE

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 10:37pm
  3. I personally will not watch the Olympics this year.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 10:40pm
  4. Matt Lauer is a douche. I won’t watch despite loving many of the events. I can’t support a network or the IOC when they refuse to acknowledge this issue.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 10:44pm
  5. I don’t intend to watch a single moment! NBC is being irresponsible in this – sell the rights because you made a mistake. Take the loss and move on!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 10:50pm
  6. I’ll watch the Olympics… You cant force change on the other side of the world, you have to let change happen over time… let russias own citizens figure out they’re wrong… we as a country are founded off killing natives, slavery, and denying women thier rights… we’ve changed, grew, prospered… everything happens at its own rate… plus the olympics are about international unity. NBC should still cover it, I wouldnt boycott something so big and important for an issue of this proportion, its a big issue, but honestly we’d show that we arent selfish and forceful… things will change with time, yes there was a boycott one point in time… during the cold war… when nuclear missle were being pointed in both directions, and the possibility of WW3 was real… this isnt world war three, why have 100% of americans and the atheletes who trained for YEARS exclude themselves from this event for 10% of the population whose offended… not saying Russia’s right, buuuuuut… too demand something on a NATIONAL scale like that seems extreme and unfair especially to the people who want to watch the olympics and support those going to compete… thats the opinion of an 18 year old gay guy… interpret it as you will

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 10:59pm
  7. Until NBC acknowledges the ethical sinkhole of making money off Putin’s inhuman treatment of LGBT people in Russia, they should be boycotted in whole.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:01pm
  8. Give then hell. It not right until everyone has equal rights. It’s our time for equality

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:05pm
  9. I live near the Quebec border…so I will be watching LIVE Olympic coverage on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) at all hours of the day…not this tape delayed shit that NBC spits out every Olympics. Shame on you NBC, shame on YOU! Oh and by the way…that Thomas Roberts on MSNBC is nothing but a joke..he went for the money thanks to the 6 figure paycheck of Donald Trump. Check out Boycott Thomas Roberts .

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:10pm
  10. Queer Nation NY do NOT support GayRussia & Russian LGBT Network who do NOT want a boycott they want support for #GayPrideSochi

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:38pm
  11. THATS A START

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:48pm
  12. can we get a couple hundred people down here please ?

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 11:55pm