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HRC Prez to NBC: Shame Russia

By Andrew Belonsky

While Harvey Fierstein was condeming Vladimir Putin on MSNBC's Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, another outspoken gay activist, HRC President Chad Griffin, was circulating a letter to NBCUniversal, the corporate daddy of the NBC family

In that letter, penned specifically to CEO Stephen B. Burke but meant for the entire company, Griffin asks that NBCUniversal use its unparalleled position as exclusive U.S. Olympic broadcaster and expose the Russian government's anti-gay crusade.

"[NBCUniversal] has a unique opportunity — and a responsibility — to expose this inhumane and unjust law to millions of American viewers who will tune in to watch the Games," Griffin writes, referring to a recent Russian law banning any pro-gay messaging of any kind, including equating same-sex and heterosexual relationships. The 2014 Winter Games will be played in Sochi, a Russian town on the Black Sea.

Griffin goes on: "You no doubt agree that it wouldn't be right to air the opening ceremonies, which is an hours-long advertisement for the host country, without acknowledging that a whole segment of the Russian population — not to mention foreign athletes and visitors — can be jailed for an immutable aspect of their identity."

Griffin closes by reminding NBCUniversal executives that their company has a 100% positive rating on HRC's corporate equality index, and says he hopes they'll help make an international incident out of what Russia wants to keep as a domestic affair.

But even if NBCUniversal doesn't agree to Griffin's request, there's no way they'll be able to avoid covering the protests already being organized. One way or another, Putin will be shamed. NBCUniversal can either go along willingly or find itself being caught from behind.

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