NBC Cuts Out IOC Anti-Discrimination Remarks From Sochi Opening Ceremony
Some strange things have already happened in this year's Olympic ceremony. Double-toilets? Odd. An American bobsledder breaking his way out of his hotel bathroom? Definitely weird. But NBC editing out the anti-discrimination section of International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach's speech? Downright bizarre.
NBC has definitely made some questionable calls in the past, and it's made them again this year. In fact, its editing choices have become so obviously disconnected from its viewers that #NBCFail is now trending on Twitter — the first thing to be cut from the network's broadcast of the Olympics opening ceremony was the performance by t.A.T.u. (important because, lest you forget, one of the group's most popular songs “All The Things She Said,” was about a lesbian relationship — and, well, you know how Russia feels about its gays). But then the network also chose to cut out a whole part of Bach's speech, and not just any part: they cut out the bit where he condemned "any form of discrimination" and promoted tolerance. Kind of pertinent, considering the types of arrests being made in the area.
Of course, according to NBC, the edit was simply a time issue. "IOC’s President was edited for time, as were other speeches, but his message got across very clearly,” the network said, according to NPR.
Here's a full transcript of the speech; the italicized section was what NBC decided to cut:
Good evening, dear Athletes. Mr president of the Russian Federation, Mr Secretary General of the United Nations, Good evening Olympic friends and fans around the world! Welcome to the 22nd Olympic Winter Games! Tonight, we are writing a new page in Olympic history. What has been achieved in seven years is a remarkable achievement. I would like it thank, in again, the president of the Russian Federation and his Government. The Sochi organising committee. The Russian Olympic committee. And the IOC members in Russia. Thank you to all the workers for your great contribution under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thank you to all the people of Sochi and the Krasnodar region. Thank you for your patience, thank you for your understanding during these years of transformation.Now you are living in an Olympic Region. I am sure you will enjoy the benefits for many, many years to come. Thousands of volunteers have welcomed us with the well-known warm Russian hospitality. Many thanks to all the wonderful volunteers. Bolshoi spasiba, valantyoram! Thank you very much to everyone. Russia and the Russians have set the stage for you, the best winter athletes on our planet. From this moment on you are not only the best athletes, you are Olympic Athletes. You will inspire us with your outstanding sports performances. You have come here for sports. You have come here with your Olympic dream. The International Olympic Committee wants your Olympic Dream to come true. This is why we are investing almost all of our revenues in the development of sports. The universal Olympic rules apply to each and every athlete- no matter where you come from or what your background is. You are living together in the Olympic Village. You will celebrate victory with dignity and accept defeat with dignity. You are bringing the Olympic Values to life. In this way, the Olympic Games, wherever they take place, set an example for a peaceful society. Olympic Sport unites people. This is the Olympic Message the athletes spread to the host country and to the whole world. Yes, it is possible to strive even for the greatest victory with respect for the dignity of your competitors. Yes, Yes, it is possible - even as competitors - to live together under one roof in harmony, with tolerance and without any form of discrimination for whatever reason. Yes, it is possible - even as competitors - to listen, to understand and to give an example for a peaceful society.Olympic Games are always about building bridges to bring people together. Olympic Games are never about erecting walls to keep people apart. Olympic Games are a sports festival embracing human diversity in great unity. Therefore, I say to the political leaders of the world - thank you for supporting your athletes. They are the best ambassadors of your country. Please respect their Olympic Message of goodwill, of tolerance, of excellence and of peace. Have the courage to address your disagreements in a peaceful, direct political dialogue and not on the backs of the athletes. APPLAUSE
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