No, Vladimir Putin did not pick his own tie. Why do you ask? rainbow tie

No, Vladimir Putin did not pick his own tie. Why do you ask?

Yesterday was the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. By all accounts, the 22nd Olympiad of the cold variety is off to a rocky start, with facilities and venues far from prepared to serve the arriving throngs.

Of course, this is a legal industry blog, not a hospitality industry one, so let’s recall that the biggest controversy of these Olympics is not about hotels but about discrimination, namely the treatment of gay people. Despite some tepid assurances, Russian authorities including Vladimir Putin seem bent on ensuring that only straight people are made to feel welcome at the Games.

And it’s not just about a welcoming sentiment, of course. There is actually an anti-gay law that many are protesting.

Meanwhile, over at Google on Thursday, we spotted an intriguing bit of political speech. The speech was evident in the “Google Doodle,” which changes daily to reflect items of historic or newsworthy importance.

Yesterday, the Google name was superimposed over a variety of athlete illustrations, each residing in a bar of color, all totaling the rainbow hues typically associated with gay rights. (As I post this, the Doodle is still there; go take a look.)

Google home page, Feb. 6, 2014 (and yes, the search commentary is mine).

Google home page, Feb. 6, 2014 (and yes, the search commentary is mine).

In case you were still missing the point, clicking the Doodle took you to the Olympic Charter, specifically the portion opposing discrimination of any kind.

Google is famous for wanting a clean white canvas of a home page, largely uncluttered by any extra words or images. But on Thursday, they also pasted in the Charter’s words for all to see.

Oddly enough, that meant if you were searching for a clear statement about human rights, you wouldn’t find it from Sochi, or even from the occasionally vacillating International Olympic Committee. You would go, instead, to a search page. Makes sense.

Have a great—and discrimination-free—weekend.

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