Watching Hunted on Channel 4 Dispatches tonight was truly chilling.
Using Russia's anti-gay law (allegedly only aimed at silencing gay propaganda), gay people are being hunted openly like prey, being kicked, beaten, humiliated, raped with sticks & bottles, made to drink urine, shot at and killed.
Russia doesn't have a law that covers hate crimes ... We were shown a man that was filmed shooting a gay man in the face was let off with a suspended sentence for hooliganism. Another man went to court for attacking a gay man with a stick, with clear photographic evidence provided ... his case has been postponed for 18 months and he walked free. His victim was taunted and humiliated outside the courtroom. When it gets to 24 months the case will be chucked out. A group of guys hung around outside an LGBT film festival, taunting women entering the building, offering them corrective rape, and "gift" bags containing rope, soap and a card instructing them to kill themselves and cleanse the world of their "filth".
Russia is lawless, without mercy, without any decent human rights & without a conscience, and sending any athletes or tourists to such a place is irresponsible.
What's more chilling than Russia's cruel & inhumane treatment of it's LGBT community, is how many countries & big corporations choose to stay silent. Coca Cola and McDonalds, as sponsors for the Sochi Winter Olympics, have remained consistently silent on Russia's appalling treatment of it's LGBT community, ignoring pleas to speak out. In addition, both have had very embarrassing PR battles where they've missed opportunities to respond to a lot of negative publicity (or - in Coca Cola's case - one publicity stunt even fed homophobia ... and rather than correct the error, they took the site down, and made some thin statement about standing for equality. However, these statements are empty unless they actually STAND for equality.
Thankfully, some companies are now beginning to speak out ... among them AT&T (article here) & a neat little publicity stunt by Brewdog Brewery in Scotland (article here). In addition, major US investors are now adding their voice to the throng calling for large corporations to hold Russia accountable, rather than pour money into a country which is hunting & victimising the LGBT community (article here).
If you want to view the programme, here's a link to the video. If that link doesn't work, it may be that you need to go to the Channel 4 Dispatches website (here) and search for "Hunted".