Today my Twitter feed was filled with Tweets cheering Google’s new “doodle,” a rainbow flag festooned with various icons of athletes in action. Below it was a quote from the Olympic Charter:
“The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.” –Olympic Charter
Sadly, while I am all for athletes and rainbow flags–and focusing attention on the fact that Russia is hosting the Olympics despite enacting abhorrent anti-gay legislation –Google makes me gag.
It’s not the message, but the messenger–a hypocrite to its very corporate core. If Google as a company truly believed in “human rights” why does it continue to disregard the rights of artists at every turn? Perhaps those who doodle for Google might want to review the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 27, paragraph 2) which includes this passage:
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
Why is Google so keen on “fair play” and the rights of athletes to compete, but when it comes to artists, not so much?
Since we’re asking the question, perhaps we should also ask why Google doodles about non-discrimination at the Olympics but donates millions to ALEC, an organization actively working to deny Americans their right to vote?
For Google the Olympics controversy provides the company with yet another opportunity to leverage its (global) influence to gain positive reviews, this time by hijacking of the Olympic spirit.
The persecution of LGBT people in Russia is an outrage that deserves every bit of attention it’s received–but given the context and the company, today’s rainbow doodle comes off as a cynical public relations ploy by a company posturing to obscure a truly malevolent soul.