TCA: NBC Olympics Coverage to Address Anti-Gay Issues ‘As They are Relevant’

Sochi 2014 NBC

Mark Lazarus sez IOC is 'monitoring' situation, hopes 'Olympic spirit' wins out

NBC Sports chief Mark Lazarus on Saturday acknowledged that the network will address the controversy stirred by Russia’s new anti-gay laws in the Peacock’s coverage of February’s winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Lazarus sought to head off a questioning frenzy on the issue that has made headlines during the past week after Russian legislators enacted laws that could potentially lead to the arrest of gay athletes who travel to Sochi for the competition. Lazarus noted that the Olympics has long been affected by social and cultural issues of the day.

“We will address those issues as they are relevant at the time of the Games, as has always been done by NBC’s coverage,” Lazarus said at the start of the TCA sesh on the winter Games.

Public awareness of Russia’s move and how U.S. and the Olympic Committee may react was heightened earlier this week by an editorial in the New York Times by actor and gay activist Harvey Fierstein. There have been calls from LGBT activist orgs for a boycott of the Games — which would be a financial disaster for NBCUniversal.

Lazarus emphasized that the International Olympic Committee has pressed the Russian government on the new law and has been assured that “there will not be any issues regarding what takes place during the Games.”

The IOC will continue to monitor the situation, Lazarus said. He sought to distance NBC and the Olympics from a broader responsibility to make a statement from a human rights standpoint.

“Governments across the world have different laws” that many find distasteful but are not a source of friction “as long as it doesn’t affect us.”

Lazarus added: “If it is still their law and impacting any part of the Olympic games we will acknowledge it.” And he quickly sought to distance NBC and Comcast from any suggestion that they condone discrimination.

“We don’t believe in the spirit of the law that they have passed and are hopeful that the Olympic spirit will win out,” he said.


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  1. Mary Waterton says:

    Never thought I would see the day when atheist Russia was a more Godly and moral country than America … but it’s happened.

  2. Ron Donaghe says:

    It’s like holding the olympics in prewar Nazi Germany. NBC will only report on gay issues if they affect the games; and the world press would only report on anti-Jewish oppression if they affected those games.

  3. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    There should be no coverage of anything Russian without directly mentioning the violence and Nuremberg style oppression that LGBT persons in Russia face. I think that NBC/Comcast should get ready for a couple hundred thousand Comcast customers switching to UVerse in response to any positive coverage of such a repressive regime. Comcast, through its payments to the IOC, is providing a forum for Kiril, Putin, and Rossiya to ‘look good on the world stage’. The coverage of the extreme and ongoing human rights abuse by Russia, and the IOC’s shameful inaction to it, should be central to any coverage of Sochi. I think Comcast/NBC just paid a hundred million bucks to lose a hundred million bucks for its corporate parent.

  4. Mell says:

    “as long as it doesn’t affect us.” That sounds so selfish and what about the Gay folks in Russia??

    No matter what if NBC airs The Olimpic Games from such country they are supporting tha hateful law that affects gay folks there and send a wrong message to the World.

    The Gay Community, their families and friends do not watch NBC’s Winter Games Coverage, boycott anything that comes from Russia and their supporters like NBC.
    Shame on NBC :(

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