Citizens of the world woke up this morning to a Google logo that plunged the company, headfirst, into the world of international politics and human rights. The Google Doodle, which you can see above, shows Olympic athletes in the pro-LGBT symbol of the inclusive rainbow. The logo is a harsh critique of the Russian government, which is currently hosting the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi.
The doodle is accompanied by a quote from the official Olympic Charter which says:
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.
Here is what you need to know about this stunning example of corporate activism:
1. Google is One of Many Websites Taking a Stand Against Russia
Google, the British newspaper The Guardian, and others, have all altered their logos to include the pro-LGBT symbol of the rainbow. These changes come on the day of opening ceremony for the Sochi Olympics in southern Russia.
These companies are taking a stand over Russia's hosting of the Olympics despite the nation's anti-gay legislation and attitudes.
2. The Olympic Charter was Written in 2013
The Olympic charter, which you can read in full above, was written and adopted by the Olympic Committee in 2013 after its most recent adaptation. The document sets guidelines and rules for the Olympics as well as its core principles and values.
The section on Olympic values is Google's primary concern as it promotes human rights and condemns discrimination.
3. LGBT People in Russia are Violently Repressed
Russia's crackdown on LGBT rights has been enforced not only by the lawmakers and police, but also by roving gangs of homophobic thugs. Russia's recent law, which labels any public displays of homosexuality or telling children that homosexuality is normal as "propaganda," has led to mass arrests and beatings of LGBT activists.
4. The United Nations Secretary-General Issued a Statement
The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack on LGBT individuals in Russia while in Sochi for the opening ceremony yesterday. He said:
Many professional athletes, gay and straight, are speaking out against prejudice. We must all raise our voices against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people. We must oppose the arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions they face.
The United Nations stands strongly behind our own 'free and equal' campaign, and I look forward to working with the IOC, governments and other partners around the world to build societies of equality and tolerance. Hatred of any kind must have no place in the 21st century.
5. President Obama Would Not Go to the Olympics
President Obama and many other world leaders have chosen deliberately not to attend the Olympics in Sochi in protest against Russia's human-rights violations and to show solidarity with their LGBT constituency.