On Monday, October 28, 2013, All Out hired three trucks to circle Coca-Cola's global headquarters in Atlanta with billboards urging the company to call for a repeal of Russia's anti-gay laws before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. (To see photos taken by All Out, click here.)
The trucks circled the headquarters starting at 8:00 a.m. EST, and continued the progression the entire day.
More than 140,000 All Out members sent messages to the company's CEO urging Coca-Cola to take the following steps:
- Speak out against the Russian anti-gay "propaganda" law and call for its repeal before the Olympics.
- Donate funds to Russian human rights defenders.
- Ask the Olympic Committee to change the rules so future Olympics can only happen in countries that fully respect equality.
"Coke is an incredibly important position of power and has the ability to influence the International Olympic Committee, other sponsors, and Russian leaders," Andre Banks Executive Director and Co-Founder of All Out said. "The safety and dignity of Russians, athletes, and fans is in doubt as long as Russia's anti-gay laws are intact. Olympic sponsors have a moral obligation to speak out now."
"As one of the largest Olympic sponsors Coca-Cola should take a strong stand against Russia's anti-gay laws ahead of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi," Andre Banks, Executive Director and Co-Founder of All Out said. "We urge them to speak out against the anti-gay propaganda law and call for a repeal before the Olympics, donate funds to Russian human rights defenders, and ask the Olympic committee to change the rule so future Olympics can only happen in countries that fully respect equality.
President Putin reportedly told the International Olympic Committee President Bach, ""We are doing everything, both the organizers and our athletes and fans, so that participants and guests feel comfortable in Sochi, regardless of nationality, race or sexual orientation."
"Putin's statement is unprecedented and a sign Russia's leadership is feeling the pressure from advocates in Russia and around the world who want these laws to be repealed before the Olympics in Sochi," said Andre Banks Executive Director and Co-Founder of All Out said. "We're glad President Putin says he accepts Olympics participants and spectators regardless of their sexual orientation -- but it's not enough."
"If Putin really wants the world to feel welcome during the 2014 Winter Olympics, it is time for the Russian government to repeal the anti-gay laws," Andre Banks said. "Any solution that doesn't address these laws will leave a cloud of uncertainty over the Games. Until the laws are repealed no one will be safe, not Russian citizens and not Olympic athletes and fans."
In August, All Out members delivered more than 300,000 signatures to the International Olympic Committee headquarters. Members urged the IOC to speak out against Russia's anti-gay law ahead of the 2014 Winter Games.
Last month the IOC, while under pressure from All Out members, confirmed Principle 6 of the Olympic charter includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, as long as the anti-gay laws are in place during the Sochi Games the Olympic charter is unenforceable.
In September, NBC reported record advertising revenue for the 2014 Games, with more than $800 Million already committed. NBC predicted the total could approach $970 Million before the games.
Coca-Cola has been a sponsor of the Olympics since the 1928 Games in Amsterdam, and is considered one of the top sponsors for the 2014 Games.
To see the live signature totals from All Out's campaigns visit:
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