Coca-Cola deletes photos of gay rights protest against its Sochi 2014 sponsorship

After inexplicably publishing them, Coca-Cola has now removed photographs published of activists protesting against its Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics sponsorship.

Coca-Cola yesterday published photos online of a group of gay rights activists who recently interrupted its Christmas advertising campaign with a surprise demonstration against the company’s decision to sponsor the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.

Reported on an online blog from one of the demonstrators, the campaign which took place in Brighton on Saturday December 21 has found its way onto the Coca-Cola’s official website.

Links to photos from the demonstration had been published via the company’s CokeZone website, which could be accessed with links provided through the hosting service, Click-It.

The photographs have now disappeared from the page, and have been replaced with generic images of the Christmas Truck, which is at the heart of its advertising campaign.

Campaigners in Covent Garden, including gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, also staged a separate demonstration against the Christmas truck last week.

Tatchell, who coordinated the campaign, said: “Coke is sponsoring the Sochi Winter Olympics, without even a murmur of unease at the anti-gay and repressive policies of the Putin government. It is shameful acquiescence with oppression.

“By sponsoring the Sochi Winter Olympics, Coca-Cola is rewarding the Putin regime, giving it legitimacy and credibility.

“It is shocking that Coca Cola has not been willing to make any statement of support for LGBT equality or for other human rights in Russia.”

In August, Coca-Cola – alongside McDonald’s – had stated that they do not condone the anti-gay laws, but added that they did not think the games should be relocated away from Sochi.

In August,  AllOut created a form allowing users to easily send a message to Coca Cola management urging them to speak out publicly against Russia’s anti-gay legislation.

President Vladimir Putin signed legislation in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors.