The Human Rights Campaign will be tracking NBC's coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics, the organization said Wednesday, hoping to pressure the network into providing news coverage of Russia's anti-gay laws.
"NBC has a unique opportunity to report on Russia’s inhumane assault on the rights of [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] people to the millions of American television viewers tuning in to watch the Olympic Games over the next few weeks,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a release. “They’ve promised to not shy away from covering the issue, and we will hold them to their word.”
Since the laws passed this summer, the HRC has pressed that NBC include the laws in their coverage of the games, as broadcast programming of Olympics in the past usually includes not just the sporting events, but also feature segments about the host country. Griffin sent a letter to NBCUniversal in July questioning execs how they planned to work in the controversial laws, which ban "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations," into NBC's coverage. During a panel days later at the Television Critics Association press tour, NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus told reporters NBC would cover the laws "if it becomes an issue" for the athletes, fans and media present at the game. In December NBC announced it had brought on reporter David Remnick of The New Yorker to assist in the commentary on Russian politics and culture.
Per a Jan. 23 conference call with reporters, NBC Olympic correspondent Mary Carillo said none of the 11 pre-taped segments that had been filmed at the time focused on the anti-LGBT laws.
Corrected on Feb. 5, 2014:
A previous version of this article misspelled Chad Griffin’s name.