Olympics head Count Rogge claims Russian law isn’t anti-gay since it jails straights too

In an astounding statement, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Count Jacques Rogge, claimed today that Russia will not discriminate against gays at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, even though the Russians just said the exact opposite in a new letter released to the Associated Press.

And I’m not kidding.  Rogge’s official title is “count,” like Count Dracula. And it’s all over the Olympics Web site, meaning someone told them they’d better refer to Rogge as “count” or else.  A real man of the people, this guy.

In the letter, the Russians are now claiming that their draconian new anti-gay law is not anti-gay at all. Why?  Because it threatens to jail heterosexual Olympians too.

The Russians are now claiming, incredibly, that their “gay propaganda” law doesn’t discriminate against gays because it will also lead the incarceration of straight Olympians who say or do anything perceived as pro-gay.

Well, thanks for the clarification, Boris.

The depth of the ignorance of Count Rogge’s response to this new letter is astounding.

First, here’s what IOC President Count Rogge said:

“We have today received strong written reassurances from the Russian government that everyone will be welcome at the games in Sochi regardless of their sexual orientation,” Rogge said in a statement.

You can read the rest of Rogge’s statement here. (updated link)

The man is either a bit of an idiot, a liar, or both.

IOC President Count Jacques Roggee

IOC President Count Jacques Rogge

First off, taking a swipe at both gay Olympic attendees, and straight Olympic attendees who support their gay brethren, is not the opposite of discrimination. It’s even more discrimination.

That’s like saying you’re an anti-Semite, but since you’re willing to bash “Jew-lovers” too, you’re not anti-Semitic at all. Yes, and Hitler’s only mistake was not going after an equal number of gentiles.

But of course, Count Rogge’s statement is even worse than that.

The Russian law bans anything that might influence a child, either directly or indirectly, to think that being gay is okay.  That means a gay Olympian kissing his legally-wed husband, or holding hands, in public would be breaking the Russian law.  A straight Olympian running into the arms of her legally-wed husband following a big Olympic victory would not be breaking the Russian law.  So it’s beyond disingenuous for Count Rogge to claim that the law applies equally to both gay and straight Olympians.

It’s the exact same argument bigots make when they claim that gay men already have the right to marry in a country that doesn’t permit same-sex marriage.  How?  They can marry women.

It is likely illegal for anyone to acknowledge that an Olympian is gay, including the gay Olympian themselves.  The Russians have just sent every gay person attending the Olympics back into the closet under penalty of gulag.

For the IOC to suggest that this is not discriminatory is akin to suggesting that the Soviets had no problem with Jews, so long as Jews stayed in the closet and nobody knew they were there.  It is to suggest that the fault lies with the minority itself.  And it is by far the worst thing the IOC has done yet on this issue, since it is quite literally sanctioning hate and cloaking it in tolerance.

At least one thing is now clear: The IOC is in bed with the Russians, and has zero interest in defending either human rights or the Olympic charter. (Ironically, the US Olympic Committee recently said the Russian law violated the Olympic spirit, while the IOC now claims it’s in the best spirit of the Olympics. Perhaps they need to get their propaganda straight, as it were.)

I’m waiting for the first gay-bashing to take place at the Sochi Olympics, and for the IOC to defend the hate crime as not a hate crime at all, since, after all, the officially-sanctioned skinheads beat up a straight Olympian too.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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79 Responses to “Olympics head Count Rogge claims Russian law isn’t anti-gay since it jails straights too”

  1. Nathanael says:

    Given Putin’s “arrest everyone who meets for any reason” decree, the “assurances” with no legal force are empty.

  2. Ninong says:

    If you’re thinking of doing that anywhere in the municipality of Sochi during the period that starts 30 days before the Olympics until 30 days after the Olympics you will be arrested for violating Vladimir Putin’s presidential decree Nol 686 of August 19, 2013, which specifically bans any protests, demonstrations, gatherings, rallies, or whatever else anyone is thinking of doing during that time period.

    It’s doesn’t matter what the protest is about. It could be about anything and it’s still illegal. It doesn’t matter what the gathering is about either. Do it and go to jail. And if you visit Sochi, you will have to arrive via approved public transport and you will be inspected thoroughly, including all of your luggage and all of your electronics.

  3. Ryan says:


  4. Ryan says:

    In a functioning democracy, this would be true. In a country not governed by the rule of law, they might either twist the text until it covers you or direct private forces to attack you.

  5. EdA says:


    This guy has been an Olympics official since 1989 and is a doctor, like Ron and Rand Paul are doctors. I suspect that as an Olympics competitor in yachting in 1972, he did not notice anything out of the ordinary taking place in Munich. One would think that as a Belgian born during the Second World War, he would know better than to trust the word of a totalitarian dictator

  6. discus_sucks_ass says:

    Well the IOC has renounced all pretense of having any kind of principle

  7. StraightGrandmother says:

    What if you wore a sandwich board that says, “Law number xxx is wrong” You would be criticizing the law not promoting sexual minorities.

  8. karmanot says:


  9. karmanot says:

    Or sit when they enter a room.

  10. voltronforce says:

    I count 1, 2, 3, 4, …… anti gay bigots mmmmm ahahahahaha -Count

  11. Moderator4 says:

    He is also out of here, karmanot. Homophobic comments are not appreciated on this blog. And we look at all their comments, on other sites as well, before we ban someone.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Er…they changed their mind again? I’m getting dizzy.

    Russia gives assurances its anti-gay “propaganda” law will not affect the Winter Olympics

  13. Anonymous says:

    No, NBC, Coke, McDonald’s and the Olympics enjoy support. Financial support from stooges like you.

  14. cole3244 says:

    yes there is but that difference is getting less clear as time goes on.

  15. Naja pallida says:

    That was pretty much Samaranch’s goal. Corporations pressure the cities into bidding, so they get huge contracts to build all the facilities, the manufacturers of food, equipment, and other supplies make a killing… tax payers cover the rest. I was reading a bit about the Vancouver Olympics on this very issue, and it was very much a case of privatize the profit, socialize the losses. The tax payers got stuck holding the bill for all the cost overruns for things like security and facility maintenance.

  16. nicho says:

    Or, spent three years in kindergarten and then, getting out on a “social promotion.”

  17. nicho says:

    No, corporate money enjoys widespread support.

  18. nicho says:

    There will be no saner president elected. The candidate pool is pretty shallow.

  19. nicho says:

    There’s a difference?

  20. nicho says:

    I believe the Orthodox church in Russia still teaches that.

  21. nicho says:

    Cities usually don’t benefit economically from hosting the Olympics. Once in a while, they do, but generally, it’s a few private corporations that benefit and the city is left holding the bag


  22. nicho says:

    The thing is that a lot of these “artistocrats” aren’t inbred. They’re not even bred. They bought their titles from cash-strapped nations. The king of Spain has a long-time companion — and it’s not the queen, if you catch my drift. The woman is considered a German “princess” and travels on a diplomatic passport from Germany. She got this from being married briefly to a German “prince.” Who knew?

  23. nicho says:

    Rogge. Or better still Jacques. If you want to drive the pretend aristocracy crazy, refuse to use any titles for them at all.

  24. silas1898 says:

    Must have been a lean year for the IOC Bribemasters.

  25. Naja pallida says:

    Los Angeles was also the only city that bid, because they were the only ones who could afford it.

  26. BeccaM says:

    Thanks be to the Flying Spaghetti Monster…and our moderators.

  27. Moderator4 says:

    He is out of here, FLL.

  28. FLL says:

    I have a theory about advance warnings for a big news story. I very rarely see homophobic trolls in the comment pages, but on this thread, they show up with bells on. They sense the big story, which is the upcoming election next month for IOC president. The homophobic trolls are rallying around Rogge and freaking out at the prospect that a saner IOC president will be elected. I think of the very occasional appearance of trolls as an early warning system.

  29. BeccaM says:

    Wait, what?– I’m confused.

    An immigration ‘reform’ proposal in the U.S. that made no mention of gay people and would have left in place an existing totally anti-gay immigration rule — but did not explicitly exclude gay people in general — was held up as totally pro-gay civil rights legislation.

    Another law passed in Russia that seeks to make the very existence of gay people invisible upon penalty of arrest, fines and imprisonment, isn’t ‘anti-gay’ at all because straight people who express support for gay people will also be arrested, fined, and imprisoned.

    Two poles of extreme cognitive dissonance.

  30. karmanot says:

    Yep, all those broken chromosomes are readily apparent in the Windsors.

  31. karmanot says:

    One of your kids may be homosexual, but you are the pervert.

  32. karmanot says:

    Thank you Nazibot for livening up the conversation.

  33. silas1898 says:

    Los Angeles in 1984 thus became the first openly corporate Games. The Russians counter-boycotted. The US won most of the medals and it was just a rah-rah flagfest.

  34. karmanot says:

    Mr. Rogge——–ppffftttt

  35. caphillprof says:

    A rogue statement if I ever heard one.

  36. FLL says:

    Did you skip kindergarten and go directly into first grade? Too bad. You never learned the really important things we learn in kindergarten: how to share the crayons, other people can fight back and (in reference to your comment) you can’t always have what you want. That’s what comes from skipping kindergarten.

  37. Andreas Meyer says:

    To be honest, I wouldn’t like my kids to be exposed to the vile propaganda of homosexual perverts, too.

  38. Naja pallida says:

    It was Samaranch who did away with the ‘athletes must be amateurs’ concept, because of the profit in it. The 1976 Games in Montreal were a financial nightmare, and for the next two Olympics, the bidding cities were slim pickings because nobody wanted to shoulder the financial burden. He figured that by accepting corporate and private bribes, and permitting corporate-sponsored professional athletes to compete, that cities would be more open to hosting the Olympics. He was right… but it only served to deepen the corruption chasm.

  39. Monoceros Forth says:

    Lots of loathsome and hateful acts enjoy widespread support. Do you have a useful point to make?

  40. docsterx says:

    Jacques Rogge’s past Olympic track record from Wiki is below. It shows him to be an insensitive political tool who has a remarkable lack of principles and understanding. He’s VERY much a toady to the country hosting the Olympics at the time. No surprise that he came out (pardon the phrase) against LGBTQs as he did against journalists/internet freedom, murdered Israeli athletes and personal freedom of expression. Incidentally, his son may be being groomed to eventually join the IOC.

    From Wiki:

    “Chinese internet censorship

    For the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, Rogge pronounced in mid-July 2008 that there would be no Internet censorship by Chinese government authorities: “for the first time, foreign media will be able to report freely and publish their work freely in China”. However, by 30 July 2008, IOC spokesman Kevan Gosper had to retract this optimistic statement, announcing that the Internet would indeed be censored for journalists.[10] Gosper, who said he had not heard about this, suggested that high IOC officials (probably including the Dutch Hein Verbruggen
    and IOC Director of the Olympic Games, Gilbert Felli, and most likely
    with Rogge’s knowledge) had made a secret deal with Chinese officials to
    allow the censorship, without the knowledge of either the press or most
    members of the IOC.[11]
    Rogge later denied that any such meeting had taken place, but failed to
    insist that China adhere to its prior assurances that the internet
    would not be censored.

    Criticism of Bolt’s jubilation

    Rogge commented that Usain Bolt’s
    gestures of jubilation and excitement after winning the 100 meters in
    Beijing are “not the way we perceive being a champion,” and also said
    “that he should show more respect for his competitors.”[12] In response to his comments, Yahoo! Sports columnist, Dan Wetzel, who covered the Games described him as “a classic stiff-collared bureaucrat,”
    and further contended that “[the IOC] has made billions off athletes
    such as Bolt for years, yet he has to find someone to pick on”.[13] In an interview with Irish Times’
    reporter Ian O’Riordan, Rogge clarified, “Maybe there was a little bit
    of a misunderstanding…. What he does before or after the race I have
    no problem with. I just thought that his gesticulation during the race
    was maybe a little disrespectful”.[12]

    Munich Massacre moment of silence

    Rogge rejected calls for a minute of silence to be held to honor the 11 Israeli Olympians killed 40 years prior in the Munich Massacre, during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
    He did this despite the standing request of the families of the 11
    Israeli Olympic team members and political pressure from the United
    States, Britain, and Germany, stating: “We feel that the opening
    ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic
    incident.” Speaking of the decision, Israeli Olympian Shaul Ladany, who had survived the Munich Massacre, commented: “I do not understand. I do not understand, and I do not accept it.”[14] Rogge and the IOC instead opted for a ceremony at Guildhall, London on 6 August, and one at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base on the anniversary of the attack, 5 September. [15]”

    Not from Wiki:

    The count is also a physician, an orthopedic surgeon who practices Sports Medicine. So he must have had a glimmer of intelligence at some point to get through medical school and residency. But in medicine, orthopedists are often (wrongly) considered slightly less-than-intelligent egomaniacs.

    Q: How do you hide a $100 bill from an orthopedist? A: Put it in a textbook.

    Q: What do you call two orthopedic surgeons reading an EKG? A: A double-blind study.

    Q: What’s the difference between God and an orthopedist? A: God doesn’t think HE’S an orthopedist.

    With his above naive and insensitive statement, Rogge seems to be showing that that glimmer of intelligence has faded. He may be suffering from Cephaloproctoautointussusception (CPAI). An imaginary medical condition in which the patient has jammed his cranial vault into an opening in his nether regions causing a severe blockage of adequate cerebral function. In this man’s case, the insertion has proceeded so far that he can easily view his own tonsils from the posterior approach.

  41. GoBlue says:

    The IOC has been an organization of corrupt elitists since long before Avery Brundage, who was one of the vilest human beings ever.

  42. FLL says:

    The insanity of the IOC hasn’t been evident to the public—not in this blatant way—since 1936. Maybe their succession of leaders hasn’t improved since 1936, but the world hasn’t been given an opportunity (since 1936) to see the dysfunction unfold on the world stage… until this year. Yes, I do think the IOC’s insanity this year stands out and is news worthy.

  43. Houndentenor says:

    Back? You assume it was every substantively different than it is now. I know of no evidence to support that assertion.

  44. FLL says:

    The New York Times, thankfully, has kept next month’s IOC elections in the news spotlight:


    The more attention the media gives this, the better the chances that the IOC can start to find its way back to sanity.

  45. Monoceros Forth says:

    There’s always been an air of falsity to the ethos of the modern Olympic Games. Reviving the Games really was a sort of aristocratic hobby from the start, meant to exclude the crude and commonplace athlete (consider for instance how Jim Thorpe was robbed of his medals because he’d once played baseball) and include only dilettanti of gentlemanly pretensions who dabbled in sport. It’s redolent of how Southern slave-holders slathered on the neoclassical ornamentation to their manses and postured themselves as heirs to the Graeco-Roman tradition. It’s always been a bit of a lie.

  46. FLL says:

    Perhaps too inbred.

  47. FLL says:

    Your conclusion, based on the given data, is wishful thinking.

  48. DaMav says:

    Not a single athlete or country has withdrawn from the games, indicating that Russia’s move to protect children from homosexual propaganda enjoys widespread support.

  49. Indigo says:

    The aristocracy has spoken. They’re clearly idiots.

  50. glasper9 says:

    Scalia made much the same argument about the Texas sodomy law in Lawrence vs. Texas. The majority of the court, thankfully, were saner.

  51. Jim Olson says:


  52. BeccaM says:

    The man is either a bit of an idiot, a liar, or both.

    Yeah, well, the original aristocrats have been in-breeding for centuries…

  53. clarknt67 says:

    US Olympic Committee has been at least as bad and embarrassing as the International one thus far. Equally corrupt and stupid.

  54. Eric Lamp says:

    There was never any question that the IOC is going to support Russia – the IOC is deeply corrupt, and completely disconnected from the athletes it supposedly represents. Responses must come from the individual Olympic Committees of the member states, especially the US, Canada, and England – these national delegations must publicly demonstrate against this heinous law.

  55. clarknt67 says:

    Rogge? Few things are more annoying in life than when someone pisses on your leg and tells you it’s raining.

  56. microdot says:

    Russia in collusion with the Olympic Committee has destroyed what ever the Olympics might have ever stood for. It’s just more corporate marketing and it don’t mean shit.

  57. Jimmy says:

    The stupidity of these people is both frightening and not unexpected. All they care about is making sure the games, and by extension the money, stays on course.

  58. Naja pallida says:

    Following in the foot steps of his obliviously bigoted predecessors Henri Baillet-Latour and Avery Brundage. Even the more moderate Presidents of the IOC, like Michael Morris were completely devoid of any kind of ability to see sense when it came to issues of human rights, and he ended up resigning just before the 1980 Games when so many people had so many objections to Moscow as the host. And Juan Antonio Samaranch, who couldn’t ever bring himself to refuse a bribe, no matter who was hurt in the process. The IOC is a corrupt organization run by holier-than-thou, out-of-touch people, based on maintaining the fallacy that countries aren’t competing with one another, and the Games are entirely apolitical.

  59. johndesalvio says:

    Soon are they going to start teaching that the Sun revolves around the Earth!

  60. cole3244 says:

    one in the same.

  61. cole3244 says:

    or become pres of the us of a.

  62. Anonymous says:

    Sadly they’re at least 50 years behind meaningful social changes. Maybe international pressure will help. Their government are a bunch of bandits and thieves who take public money constantly. Until the people wake up and take back their money and government, there’s little hope. It’ll be an endless cycle of manipulation with their current leaders.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Like GOP 1%ers.

  64. MichaelS says:

    John, The election of a new president to the IOC is less than three weeks away in Buenos Aires: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/125th_IOC_Session#IOC_presidential_election

    Please help… How can we mount a campaign to make sure that Russia’s discriminatory policies are front-and-center at the 125th IOC Session, and that the next president will take immediate action to either force Russia to repeal its laws and prosecute the gay-bashers, or else move the games to Vancouver?

  65. Anonymous says:


  66. Monoceros Forth says:

    Yeah, those Southern post-Reconstruction lynch mobs weren’t racists. They killed some white people too!

  67. Hue-Man says:

    There an even more obvious LOGIC FAIL; just because the gay-hating propaganda law applies to straights as well as gays, doesn’t mean that a straight person will ever be charged by Russian authorities, unless it is politically expedient to do so. As an example of unequal application of criminal law, stealing is a crime – poor people who steal bread from a grocery store are charged while Wall Street bankers who steal billions from investors and home-owners are NEVER charged.

  68. nicho says:

    The only way you can advance in the corporatist society is to be a sociopath.

  69. jomicur says:

    I’m not by nature optimistic, but I’ve been holding out some faint hope that we might see some glimmer of decency somewhere in this mess. This new crap has killed that glimmer, and killed it for good. These villains are digging in their feet in defense of their bigotry, and I can’t see any reason to think that might change. We need to hit them, hit them hard, and keep hitting them–in the wallet, which seems to be all they care about. “Olympic ideals,” my ass.

  70. PeteWa says:

    Hitler had the members of die Weiße Rose put to death, and therefore the Holocaust was okay.

  71. cole3244 says:

    most of the heads of nations, corps, non profits, and business are to be honest soulless hypocrites, morality and ethics are a thing of the past in todays world.

  72. Bertlay says:

    At this point I can’t even imagine what the IOC would be able to do to get me to give two figs about watching the Olympics.

  73. Ninong says:

    Jacques Rogge is an idiot. I don’t think he’s a liar because he really and trully believes that sh!t. He’s one of those people who thinks things would be fine if only “they” didn’t “flaunt” it in front of the children. Why do “they” have to talk about it all the time? Can’t “they” just act “normal”?

  74. fritzrth says:

    I know. I was trying to emphasize how penny-pinching these people are. They’re so greedy they won’t even let a ruble slip through their fingers. B-)

  75. nicho says:

    Just look at the list of IOC committee members, “HRH,” “His Excellency,” “The Honorable.” These are the elite of the elite.

  76. nicho says:

    The elite do not count rubles. Rubles are a joke. To do anything worthwhile in Russia, you need hard currency — euros, dollars, pounds, Swiss francs. Only peasants use rubles. The best restaurants, shops, etc. in Russia won’t take rubles.

  77. fritzrth says:

    They hear what they’re saying, but they’re too busy counting rubles to pay attention.

  78. Houndentenor says:

    Do these assholes ever listen to themselves?

  79. fritzrth says:

    The IOC has taken their stand against the GLBT community as comrades of the Russian government. I never expected them to do anything, but now they’re not even trying to hide their complicity. Better to abet the government-condoned kidnapping, beatings and murder of gay men and women — this goes beyond the law — than to risk losing one ruble of their lucre.

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