Added to the Google.com home page yesterday, the latest Google doodle both celebrates the start of the Olympic games as well as defies the anti-homosexuality laws put in place by Putin’s government. Also on display on the Russian version of Google, the doodle shows six Olympic sports in the Winter Games which include skiing, hockey, curling, bobsledding, figure skating and snowboarding. Drawings of these various sports are drawn on the top of the familiar rainbow colored flag associated with the pro-LGBT movement.
Beneath the doodle and search box, Google has included a quote from the Olympic Charter. It reads “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” While Google didn’t release a statement referencing the doodle, it’s clear that the Web company is showing support for gay and lesbian people all around the world.
President Vladimir Putin has been particularly vocal about homosexuals prior to the start of Olympic games stating that gay people would be safe if they “left kids alone.” Russian government has been under scrutiny for the last year due to a law that prohibits “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationship.” For instance, any visiting Olympic athlete that speaks to the media about LGBT issues while in Russia could be forced into jail time as well as fined heavily.
Beyond Google, other companies have spoken out against Russia’s anti-LGBT legislation. Earlier this week, U.S. Olympic committee sponsor AT&T published a blog post publicly condemning Russia’s law. Specifically, company representatives posted “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.” Up to now, Olympic sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Visa, Samsung and McDonald’s have been silent on the issue.