Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed a draconian law that labels any public acknowledgement of the LGBT community as “gay propaganda.” It is now a crime in Russia to advocate for LGBT equality, publicly say that gay relationships are equal to non-gay ones, organize an LGBT pride parade, or even simply hold a rainbow flag. Violators face jail time or fines of up to 1 million rubles.
Putin’s barbaric policies are legitimizing an alarming surge in hate-motivated beatings, torture, and murders of LGBT people across Russia. And state-owned Russian television is fueling the fire.
News reports are buzzing that Dmitri Kisilev, the anchor of the most-watched television news show in Russia, has taken up proselytizing anti-LGBT hatred and vitriol. Kisilev's TV station, Rossiya 1, is owned by the Russian government, and Kisilev is falling right in line with the government’s extremist agenda. In fact, Kislev recently said on live television that Putin’s anti-gay laws don’t go far enough: "I think… [gays] should be banned from donating blood, sperm. And their hearts, in case of the automobile accident, should be buried in the ground or burned as unsuitable for the continuation of life.”
Procter & Gamble, an American company that makes everything from shampoos to toothpaste and maxi-pads, is Russia’s biggest television advertiser. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that "barely an hour goes by on Russia's biggest TV networks without at least one ad from Procter & Gamble.” The Russian government owns or is a major shareholder in most of Russia's television stations, so every time Procter & Gamble purchases an ad on those networks, the company puts money directly into the pockets of the Russian government and finances Putin’s bloody crusade against LGBT people.
Procter & Gamble is also a Worldwide Olympic Partner of the International Olympic Committee and a sponsor of the upcoming -- and controversial -- 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
In the U.S., Procter & Gamble enjoys an LGBT-friendly image, with a 90 percent score on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index. P&G’s own website states: “Companies like P&G are a force in the world… with this stature comes both responsibility and opportunity. Our responsibility is to be an ethical corporate citizen—but our opportunity is something far greater..."
But P&G’s responsibility and ethical obligations extend beyond America’s borders. It’s time for Procter & Gamble to stop financing Putin’s war on gays and send a strong message to the Russian government that enough is enough.
Sign this petition to tell Procter & Gamble to pull its ads from Russian government-owned TV stations.