An official from Oak Brook-based McDonald's Corp. said at a Chicago Sports Commission luncheon last week that the company would not make a statement about anti-gay laws implemented in Russia last summer, Crains Chicago Business reported Dec. 17. The company has a high-profile sponsorship of the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
"If we as a sponsor, or any sponsor, were to pull [out of their deal] or boycott, we'd be hurting the U.S. Olympic team," said John Lewicki, McDonald's director of global alliances. "Our mission really is to make sure that we do not penalize the U.S. athletes. The [U.S. Olympic Committee] is not going to boycott, so we're not going to subjugate that by not supporting athletes."
McDonald's has been a regular sponsor of the Olympics since 1976 and recently renewed that sponsorship through 2020.
Lewicki said that, while the company wants to see the athletes perform in an atmosphere free from discrimination, "We try to keep the politics out of it and try to focus on sport."
In August, activists from a number of Chicago-based organizations, among them StonewallAgain and Gay Liberation Network, protested at McDonald's headquarters.
See more details at Crain's: www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20131217/BLOGS04/131219825/mcdonalds-exec-not-our-role-to-take-political-stance-at-olympics .