The opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics was a nearly four-hour-long affair when it aired on Friday (Feb. 7) on NBC, and that was an edited version of the events in Sochi. It turns out that the places where the network chose to make their cuts from the program is generating a bit of a backlash.
After Deadspin spotted differences in the speech from IOC president Thomas Bach during the ceremony between how it aired on NBC and how it aired on British TV, viewers have begun to criticize the network for a missing segment calling for tolerance.
“Yes, yes, it is possible — even as competitors — to live together under one roof in harmony, with tolerance and without any form of discrimination for whatever reason,” Bach says in the missing bit. “Yes, it is possible — even as competitors — to listen, to understand and to give an example for a peaceful society.”
A spokesperson for NBC’s Olympics coverage tells THR that the edits were made because of time constraints.
“The IOC President’s comments were edited for time, as were other speeches, but his message got across very clearly to viewers,” the spokesperson says.
It seems, though, that the edited version wasn’t enough for some viewers. Upworthy’s Adam Mordecai took to Twitter to remind NBC “the audacity of your idiocy knows no bounds.” One viewer argues, “How can the US criticize Russia for being anti-gay when @NBC refused to air the anti-discrimination statement,” while the Twitter account for the Libertarian blog Popehat writes, “At home, NBC profits from shows with gay characters, cast, writers, etc. In Russia, NBC edits anti-discrimination statement from speech.”
The topic of discrimination and tolerance has been the elephant in the room for these Sochi games since Russia passed its controversial anti-gay legislation last year.
Do you think NBC is in the wrong for trimming this particular section of Bach’s speech for time?