Footage from August features Russia's top anchor man – their Brian Williams, not some fringe loony – telling his studio audience:
I believe it is not enough to impose fines on gays for engaging in the propaganda of homosexuality among adolescents. We need to ban them from donating blood and sperm, and if they die in car accidents, we need to bury their hearts in the ground or burn them as they are unsuitable for the aiding of anyone's life.
We may be about to see the first conviction under the new gay "propaganda" law. Ealier this summer, police arrested Russian LGBT activist Dmitry Isakov for standing in the center of town with a sign that read: "Being gay and loving gays is normal. Beating gays and killing gays is a crime!"
The time for action is long past due. Berlin 1936 once, shame on then-IOC chairman Count Henri Baillet-Latour, who was content with Chancellor Adolf Hitler's assurances that all anti-Semitic placards would be removed from the city during the games. Berlin 1936 twice, shame on the IOC's current chair, Count Jacques Rogge, and complicit political and business leaders.
Here are the steps we recommend:
Each company should post its non-discrimination policies prominently on its Russian websites. (All but McDonalds prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity – a strange omission from the creators of the pantaloons-wearing Ronald McDonald.) The statement should mention that the company encourages a safe and open work environment, welcomes LGBT customers and will not tolerate bullying of its LGBT employees.
Every company should conduct corporation-wide trainings concerning their non-discrimination policies – a particularly important step for any employee confused by the seeming disparities between Russia's repeated declaration that the laws don't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, the routine occurrence of gay bashing and anti-gay proclamations (now the Duma is considering offering "reparative therapy" to LGBT people) and their employer's policies. Finally, all of these companies should post their non-discrimination statement on bulletin boards at every one of their factories, distribution centers, stores and offices in Russia.
This kind of corporate consistency is not only key to maintaining each company's integrity: it also ensures compliance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which state that, "All business enterprises have the same responsibility to respect human rights wherever they operate."
The time has come for American companies doing business in Russia to demonstrate that their own clearly stated corporate values and policies hold true wherever they set up shop. To do otherwise would mean profiting from their progressive reputation in the West while propping up a homophobic, increasingly fascistic regime in Sochi and beyond.