The company has been criticised by gay rights campaigners in the US

The company has been criticised by gay rights campaigners in the US

The Coca-Cola Co has responded to a protest by gay rights campaigners in the US over its sponsorship of the Russian Winter Olympics, arguing that the company "celebrates diversity".

The protestors claim that the soft drinks group “supports hate” by backing the Games after Russia introduced an anti-gay propaganda law, Sky News reported today (29 August). Bottles and cans of Coca-Cola were emptied by demonstrators in Times Square, New York City, to register their dissatisfaction with the company. 

However in a statement to just-drinks today (29 August), a Coca-Cola spokesperson said the company “values and celebrates diversity”.

“We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community and have advocated for inclusion and diversity through both our policies and practices,” the spokesperson added. “We do not condone human rights abuses, intolerance or discrimination of any kind anywhere in the world.”

Vodka brands have also faced the ire of campaigners opposed to Russia's new anti-gay laws. Bars in London, Australia and across the US have been boycotting brands such as Stolichnaya as part of opposition to the legislation. However, Stolichnaya-owner, the SPI Group has branded the new laws "dreadful" and says it supports the LGBT community.