LGBT Activists Hijack McDonalds’ Hashtag and Create a Parody #CheersToSochi Website to Raise Awareness about Russia’s anti-LGBT Laws Favorite 

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Feb 6 2014

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Twitter

On January 21, 2014, McDonald’s asked its customers to tweet supportive messages to the Olympians who would compete in the Sochi Games, along with the hashtag #CheersToSochi. However, within a couple of days, LGBT activists essentially hijacked the hasthtag from McDonalds. Since Russia is the host nation of the 2014 Sochi Games, the LGBT activists decided to use the #CheersToSochi hashtag to demand the Games’ sponsors to condemn Russia’s anti-LGBT laws.

The #CheersToSochi Twitter campaign inspired Scott Wooledge,( a LGBT activist and member of Queer Nation NY) to create a new parody website, www.CheersToSochi.org, which looks highly similar to McDonalds’ official website, CheersToSochi.com. According to Wooledge, CheersToSochi.org is a resource for a people who are “disgusted with sponsors’ silence and tacit consent with Russia’s war on gays”. Essentially, it provides LGBT activists with an aggregator that directs criticism towards the official Sochi Games sponsors, such as McDonalds and Coca Cola.
To date, the CheersToSochi.org site and Twitter campaign has caught the attention of various media outlets and McDonalds, who issued the following statement: “We are aware that some activists are targeting Olympic sponsors to voice their concerns regarding the Russian LGBT legislation. McDonalds supports human rights, the spirit of the Olympics and all the athletes who’ve worked so hard to compete in the Games. We believe the Olympic Games should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectators, officials, media, and athletes.”

As of February 2014, the LGBT activists’ CheersToSochi campaign is going strong, and it continues to pressure more Sochi sponsors into openly addressing Russia’s anti-LGBT laws. Hopefully, the campaign will also continue to spark international debates about LGBT rights both in Russia and abroad.

Posted by jng280@nyu.edu on