SBD/August 15, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

GE Stands Alone Among Major Olympic Sponsors In Confronting IOC's LGBT Stance

GE is the only corporate sponsor of the Olympics that is "pressing the International Olympic Committee publicly for action in support of human rights," according to Geidner & Maheshwari of The site reached out to each of the Olympic Games' 10 "marquee sponsors, as well as several other sponsors." While several companies "pointed to their own support" of LGBT rights, "few of the Games' key sponsors were willing to engage the IOC in any specific request for more action." A GE spokesperson said, "We expect the IOC to uphold human rights in every aspect of the Games." Panasonic "dismissed the notion of engaging on the question of civil rights." A Panasonic spokesperson in an e-mail wrote the company "has no involvement in, and is not in a position to comment on political and social matters related to the Olympic Games or specific governments in any country or region." An Adecco spokesperson's e-mail read, "We cannot offer comment at this stage." Neither Procter & Gamble nor Microsoft provided a response to a request for comment. Meanwhile, several major corporations said that they would "defer" to the IOC. Reps for Dow Chemical, Samsung, McDonald's and Visa all provided statements "that were similar to one another -- down to the adjectives used, suggesting coordination among the sponsors or directly from the IOC itself -- and which back the IOC's cautious engagement" (, 8/14).
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