By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com July 27 2013 4:02 PM ET
If Russia keeps its antigay laws, NBC Sports is now committed to covering them as part of broadcasts from the Sochi Winter Olympics next year.
Variety reports that NBC Sports chief Mark Lazarus was ready for a swarm of questions today about the network's coverage during the Television Critics Association meeting in Los Angeles. The president of the Human Rights Campaign had earlier this week written a letter to NBC calling on it to decry the new laws amidst the typically glowing portrait of any host country.
"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," wrote Chad Griffin on Wednesday.
According to Variety, Lazarus said, “If it is still their law and impacting any part of the Olympic games we will acknowledge it.”
“We don’t believe in the spirit of the law that they have passed," he reportedly said, "and are hopeful that the Olympic spirit will win out.”
In Griffin's letter, he pointed out that jail time could face anyone for public displays of affection, LGBT positive tweets, or even broadcasting positive news stories about LGBT people.
"Millions of LGBT Russians live in fear that their government will arrest them, simply because of who they are," he wrote.
The International Olympic Committee claims it has received assurances from Russia's government that its so-called "propaganda" law won't be enforced during the Olympics against attendees or participants.
Most recently, four Dutch filmmakers were arrested in the country for attempting to shoot a documentary about the lives of LGBT Russians. And photos of a neo-Nazi group allegedly tormenting gay teens were spread online by the human rights group, Spectrum Human Rights Alliance.