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Google Doodles the Rainbow for Sochi

Jim Burroway

February 6th, 2014

If you go to the Google search page, you’ll see this Google Doodle in place of Google’s logo in honor of the Sochi Olympics, which officially opens tomorrow. In case anyone somehow misses Google’s message in the graphic, they helpfully quote from the Olympi charter:

 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.” –Olympic Charter

This appears to be going on Google’s pages worldwide, including such anti-gay hot spots as Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon, GhanaJamaica, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and, most importantly right now, Russia, where Google is likely violating that country’s “anti-propaganda” law.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Channel 4 is rebranding its during the duration of the Olympics by dressing its logo in Rainbow colors. And tomorrow, just as the opening ceremonies air on BBC2, Channel 4 will counter with the television debut of its “Gay Mountain” ad campaign:

The tongue-in-cheek ad, which will run for a week, features a “bear” cabaret act singing a song which features lyrics including “good luck gays, on gay mountain”. Using a play on the term “out”, denoting when a person declares publicly that they are gay, the TV ad runs with the strapline “good luck to everyone out in Sochi”.

“This is a typically Channel 4 way of celebrating the start of the Winter Games and showing our support to all of the athletes out in Sochi, gay or straight,” said the Channel 4 chief marketing and communications officer, Dan Brooke.

Something tells me you’re not gonna see anything like this on NBC:

YouTube Preview Image



February 7th, 2014 | LINK

Actually, I am rather disappointed by Google’s initiative. I think it’s too subtle to raise awareness of the suicides and violence that LGBTs already face in Russia, much less warn of the risk of genocide if Russia continues to promote fascism and xenophobia.

I am hyper-aware of the Gay Pride rainbow. I spot it everywhere, but I missed it when I used the Google search page because Google doesn’t use the standard Gay Pride colours (which have a darker blue and a brighter red, yellow and green) and Google separates each colour with a white dividing line, unlike the Gay Pride rainbow. So, I doubt that anybody else will make the connection from the design alone, especially in Russia where only a few gay people have a clue about the rainbow. (even in Eurrope, the rainblow is often associated with the anti-war movement)

Also, the Olympic Charter quote makes no mention of LGBT rights. I would have preferred if Google had made an explicit statement supporting LGBT rights generally (“Gay rights are human rights” would do nicely.) or at least LGBT non-discrimination in sports. Russians see no connection whatsoever between human rights and LGBT rights.

Google’s initiative will give some Russian LGBTs the idea that somebody cares; so, I guess it’s better than nothing.

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