A Chicago-area activist group is planning a protest against Oak Brook-based McDonald's Corporation over the fast food giant's sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Members and supporters of StonewallAgain plan on marching at McDonald's headquarters, 2111 McDonald's Dr. in Oak Brook, on Aug. 17 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
The group is calling on McDonald's to cease their support of the Games to take a stand against Russia's harsh new anti-LGBT laws. In a deal that lasts through 2020, McDonald's pays about $100 million to be sole retail food sponsor for each pair of Olympics in a four-year period.
The protest will "tell McDonald's Corp. to stop sponsoring the homophobic Sochi Winter Olympics. Russia has implemented laws to arrest and deport anyone who is or they suspect is gay," according to StonewallAgain's Facebook page.
The organization's founder, Mike Lackovich, said that he had become dismayed with the situation in Russia and tried in vain to get contact with McDonald's, which has so far remained silent on the matter.
Lackovich compared the persecutions to Nazi Germany in the 1930's. "This is history repeating itself," he said. "McDonald's should be working with the IOC in order to find an alternative venue."
Olympic sponsors, who also include Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble among others, are beginning to come under fire for their participation. In an Aug. 9 radio interview with Michelangelo Signorile, Human Rights Watch Director of Global Initiatives Minky Worden suggested that the International Olympic Committee and their sponsors had carefully tracked the legislation but chose to look the other way.
"If they had leaned on [Russia] before the law was signed, it would not have been signed. That is absolutely true," said Worden.
McDonald's had not yet returned calls for comment by press time.