Organizers of the 2012 London Olympics have come under fire in India over Dow Chemical’s corporate sponsorship of the international event.
Protests have sprung up across India against Dow’s sponsorship of the Games. On Friday, December 2, one demonstration reportedly included the burning in effigy of Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In India, the company is linked to a catastrophic 1984 gas leak in the city of Bhopal that killed 15,000 people and reportedly injured a half-million.
There have been calls in the country to boycott the Games over Dow’s involvement, but sports and government officials in India have reportedly said there is no plan for such an action. As one of the main sponsors for the event, Dow has donated millions of dollars toward the London Olympics.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) announced today, December 5, that it will discuss the sponsorship situation with the International Olympic Committee in the near future.
“We will try to make Games organizers aware of the feeling of the people who have suffered due to that tragedy,” IOA acting president Vijay Malhotra told the Associated Press.
Dow has denied any involvement in the 1984 tragedy. In 2001, the company bought Union Carbide, which was responsible for the gas leak. Union Carbide settled with the Indian government for $470 million prior to its purchase by Dow.
Dow spokesperson Scot Wheeler told ABC News in a statement on Friday that Dow is being targeted unfairly.
“Dow has never had any involvement with the Bhopal plant site or with the 1984 Bhopal gas release, and efforts by certain interest groups to attach this to the company are misdirected and inappropriate,” Wheeler stated.
The company’s sponsorship includes funding for an $11 million decorative wrap that will provide a curtain-like skin for the London Olympic stadium’s metal frame exterior. Due to Olympic guidelines, the wrap would not include any Dow branding.
The Dow sponsorship flare-up is just the latest controversy involving the London Olympics, which are already < a href="https://www.ticketnews.com/ticket-sales-for-2012-london-summer-olympics-off-to-a-rocky-start">dealing with criticism over ticketing policies.
Last month, concert promoter Live Nation’s plan to hold several free concerts in city parks before the Games drew criticism from London Assembly member Kit Malthouse and others because the concerts could pose a hardship for residents.
Live Nation was granted permission by London Mayor Boris Johnson to stage concerts in Hyde and Victoria parks. In return, the company will set up large broadcast screens at 20 “Live Sites” throughout the city, which will be free to the public.
Malthouse recently expressed concern that having screens in operation from early in the morning until late at night could significantly disrupt the lives of residents in areas away from the sporting venues.