These companies have stood up for LGBT rights during Sochi

Bell is the latest of many


Earlier this week, Bell Canada became just the latest company to send a message to Sochi. Although its memo is a little more subtle than some others have been: you could easily miss the quick kiss between two men at the 23-second mark in the minute-long TV spot. It’s actually a pretty cool ad, as far as ads go, and worth a watch:

Unlike Bell’s video, this one from the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion is anything but low-key. It’s also been seen millions of times around the world, even spurring reactions from athletes (not all of them positive, unfortunately). If you haven’t already seen the ad, well, I’ll let it speak for itself:

Companies outside Canada have taken a stand, too. AT&T has certainly been one of the most notable. Last week, it said this in a blog post:

The Olympic Games in Sochi also allow us to shine a light on a subject that’s important to all Americans: equality. As you may know, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community around the world is protesting a Russian anti-LGBT law that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” To raise awareness of the issue, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has called on International Olympic Committee (IOC) sponsors to take action and stand up for LGBT equality.

AT&T is not an IOC sponsor, so we did not receive the HRC request. However, we are a long-standing sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), we support HRC’s principles and we stand against Russia’s anti-LGBT law.

AT&T has a long and proud history of support for the LGBT community in the United States and everywhere around the world where we do business. We support LGBT equality globally and we condemn violence, discrimination and harassment targeted against LGBT individuals everywhere. Russia’s law is harmful to LGBT individuals and families, and it’s harmful to a diverse society.

The other big-name company to come out in support of the LGBT community is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Google, which has for some time been an ally to the gay community. You probably saw the Google Doodle already, unless you somehow went a week without using Google—yeah, right.


Like Google, The Guardian also gave its logo an LGBT facelift, colouring the letter G with a rainbow gradient.


Other companies have spoken out against Russia’s anti-gay laws, as well, like American Apparel, Lush Cosmetics and yogurt maker Chobani. As for the official Olympic sponsors, however, the silence has been deafening for rights activists insisting they’re best positioned to make a statement. But McDonald’s hasn’t made a peep. Partial points go to Coca-Cola, which recently aired a Super Bowl commercial featuring a gay couple—but the company has yet to speak out directly or show support through its Olympic advertising.

As Chris MacDonald, our resident ethics blogger, wrote in a recent piece, companies do need to draw a line. Not every business decision is purely about business—although being on the right side of history isn’t a bad bet.

Get our daily briefing on innovation, leadership, technology & the economy.
Weekdays at 6 AM ET. Learn More »

6 comments on “These companies have stood up for LGBT rights during Sochi

  1. This comment was removed.

    • Really? You think equal rights for all human beings isn’t an important concept to be supporting around the world? You think it is perfectly okay for random people to be gang beaten or murdered on the street because someone decides they “look gay”, nevermind if they are or not? Well since your views are shared with the minority of society, and you feel minorities don’t matter, I guess we can all be free to ignore your bigotry and move on as well.

    • You sure are a bigot Probably you feel the same about women rights black ciivil rights voting rights even basic human right for all people All these changes came about for these groups by fighting for them The 0.1% is more like 10-15% & God if you really believe iin him even made some animals Gay Just check it out

  2. The LGBT are only fighting for the same basic rights that many other people enjoy This does not mean tthey want any special rights & they still have to obey the laws of the land

  3. The LBGT are only fighting for the same bacic rights that many of us enjoy All groups had to fight to get their rights from women to civil & minority rights Almost all civilized countries have Bill of Rights enshrined in their Constitutions

    • Right… you guys care so much about human rights but apparently perceive them only through your own prism of interests and/or understanding. Some folks who might be reading your comments can’t even see what the whole buzz is about because the warriors for democracy and human rights like yourselves acted quick to delete the original post ! There was nothing unlawful or offensive to a broad audience (except maybe to the aggressive pro-gay community), – just a personal view on ubiquitous domination of the pro-gay propaganda which has been spreading lately beyond any reasonable proportions.
      How did you miss another one just a couple of days ago ?? Here’s a link – go eliminate that one too:

      And the 10-15% you Terron bring up is clearly your either imagination or wishful thinking. Thank goodness we are far from that and, God willing, will never get even close to that point due to the danger to the world’s population reproduction alone. And yes – I do believe in God, thus believe in his infinite wisdom to keep things in control (if you know what I mean).
      To make it clear, I’m not a gay hater or anything of that nature as you seem to be implying here. I do not accept any violence against anybody, I repeat, against anybody. In fact, I do have sympathy for gay people because of moral suffering and other aspects of life they have to go through. What I cannot accept, however, is when their style of life is aggressively propagated and imposed onto others, often against those others’ will. As an example, I know many feel extremely uncomfortable in situations when they find themselves with children witnessing exposed private parts of “pride” folks during infamous parades… what one is supposed to tell or how to explain that to a child ?… Yeah, you would probably say – don’t just go there or don’t watch, simple… On the other hand, we all know one citizen fellow who chose not to go and how it keeps haunting him throughout his mayoral term… How about freedom of choice and human rights in that case ?
      Or take another example – children adoption rules when a poor child is not in a capacity yet to make a choice whether he or she wants to be brought up by a same-sex couple, – the state makes that choice for them… the chances are the child would follow the same behavioural patterns as his/her new parents… if it’s not a violation of fundamental human rights, tell me what is ?!..
      I guess you want to call me bigot again or something even worse, don’t you ? But first make sure to delete this post, you defenders of human rights and democracy 😉