Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) is calling for NBCUniversal to urge the International Olympic Committee relocate the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing, citing the Chinese government’s human rights abuses.
Scott said in a statement that NBC News own reporting “has detailed the horrors faced by Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the genocide being committed against them by the government of Communist China. Yet this American network continues to turn a blind eye to Communist China’s atrocities when it comes to allowing Beijing to host the 2022 Olympic Games, apparently preferring instead to give General Secretary Xi a platform to whitewash his horrific crimes with the grand spectacle of the 2022 Olympic Games.”
Scott had fired off several letters to the network several times, most recently calling on the network to not just call for moving the Games but to threaten to not air it.
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He got a recent response from Phil Tahtakran, NBCUniversal head of government affairs, who wrote that the media company has no role in selection of the host city. He also wrote that “refusing to air the Games to a U.S. audience would only hurt Americans: Team USA Olympians and Paralympians, many of whom have trained for much of their lives to compete in a single Games, who would be denied the opportunity to shine in front of family, friends and fans; and the U.S. audience, who would be deprived of the opportunity to cheer on and take pride in the athletes who represent our country.”
Scott backed off the call for the network to forgo airing the Games, saying a statement that “I agree that a boycott is not the answer.” But he still called on the network “to take a stand with me and the many human rights groups around the world in demanding change to hold Communist China accountable.”
Scott has seized on the publicity following NBC’s decision to not air the next Golden Globes due to diversity concerns, something that drew some criticism on the right as it has been fixated on the idea of “cancel culture.” In his statement, Scott said, “If NBC is willing to cancel the Golden Globes to support racial diversity, why can’t they take a stand for human rights and demand the relocation of the 2022 games?”
A spokesperson for NBC Sports did not immediately return a request for comment.
The 2022 Games drew just two cities — Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan — as the final bidders, as other possible host locales withdrew out of concerns over the high costs of holding the international event. Milan will host the 2026 Games, beating out Stockholm in bidding two years ago.
The last time Beijing hosted the Games, in 2008, there also was a spotlight on China’s human rights record. The year before, Mia Farrow and Ronan Farrow wrote an op ed blasting the country for backing Sudan amid genocide in Darfur. Steven Spielberg, who had been set to be an artistic adviser to the Games, decided to back out of the role.