A gay right’s activist in the Russian town of Vorenezh was detained by a Coca-Cola emblazened security guard during an Olympic Torch run.

The man, Pavel Lebedev stood at the side of the road waving a rainbow flag (the adopted international symbol of the gay rights movement). As we all remember, Putin helped pass a law last year that forbids any and all “propaganda” celebrating the homosexual lifestyle. And apparently Coke is all for it.

Protester Olympic Torch Run Russia 2014

The incident has been seen all over the internet and there are many points of view currently as to why the man was detained at all. The claim is he violated the space and stepped onto the road past the assigned spectator area. However, the Coca-Cola funded guard seems extremely interested in keeping a firm grip on the rainbow flag throughout the posted video (below).

Will Coke do the right thing and take a stand against Russia’s archaic law banning freedom of expression? Here is their response to the incident:

Thank you for contacting The Coca-Cola Company. We appreciate the opportunity to respond.

As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity. We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion and diversity through both our policies and practices. We do not condone human rights abuses, intolerance or discrimination of any kind anywhere in the world.

As a sponsor since 1928, we believe the Olympic Games are a force for good that unite people through a common interest in sports, and we have seen firsthand the positive impact and long-lasting legacy they leave on every community that has been a host.

We support the ideals of the Olympics and are proud to continue our role in helping to make the Olympics a memorable experience for athletes, fans and communities all around the world.

As a Presenting Partner of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay, our logo appears on all of the uniforms for the staff assigned by the Sochi Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) to support the Torch Relay.

SOCOG reported that a spectator was prevented from breaching the security perimeter around the Torchbearer. The spectator was detained briefly by local police and was fined.

We hope this information is helpful and encourage you to contact us again should you have additional comments or questions.

Jeffrey C
Industry and Consumer Affairs
The Coca-Cola Company

Ah, yes, the ol’ “non-response”, the oldest trick in the book. This dodge and weave makes Coke look like they spent their money and they’re going to back Putin and his anti-gay law. It’s a whole new world of corporate control, I wonder if anyone has ever written any stories on the potential of this ever happening? Probably not, I don’t think anyone could have seen this coming. Well, okay, we did, I just didn’t think it would happen in my lifetime.


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