The International Olympic Committee will investigate the use of the Olympic rings to promote a World Congress of Families meeting scheduled to be held in the Kremlin in September, an IOC spokeswoman told BuzzFeed Monday.
The World Congress of Families is based in Rockford, Ill., and includes many leading U.S. organizations that oppose abortion and LGBT rights among its affiliates. The Russian meeting is partly financed by Vladimir Yakunin, president of the Russian railroads and a close ally of Vladimir Putin, and is described as the "Olympics of the international Pro-Life movement supporting the Natural Family" on a brochure produced by the Russian organizers.
IOC Media Relations Director Emmanuelle Moreau called this an "unauthorized use of the Olympic rings" in an email. "We will look into this issue," she said.
The IOC is famously protective of its copyright, but raised no objections to the use of the Olympic rings on a Russian state-television network when it broadcast a program warning of a "homosexualist invasion" in November because the channel was an official broadcaster of the Sochi games.
The World Congress of Families has announced no change to its plans for the September meeting despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
J. Lester Feder is a world correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. His secure PGP fingerprint is 2353 DB68 8AA6 92BD 67B8 94DF 37D8 0A6F D70B 7211
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