Two U.S. Senators, one from Florida, leaned on NBC to put principle before profit and refuse to broadcast the Beijing Olympics.
NBC paid $7.75 billion four years ago for the rights to the Olympics through 2032, so the move may affect the network’s bottom line.
However, Sen. Rick Scott, along with Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, wrote the network with “grave concern,” urging them not to show the games because of human rights abuses the Senators have spotlighted all year.
“As the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing approach, we write to you with grave concern about the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow a Communist regime with an abysmal record on human rights to host a global sporting event that attracts athletes and spectators from all across the world. By doing so, you are placing profits over principles, and ensuring that China can be accepted into the international system even as it violates its basic rules and tenets,” the Senators wrote NBC leadership.
China, “one of the great human rights abusers of the world,” is setting up a panopticonic surveillance scheme, the Senators contend.
“General Secretary Xi has set up a surveillance infrastructure in Beijing that tracks every person’s location and internet activity. Communist China uses millions of cameras, powered by facial recognition technology, to spy on and persecute those who criticize the regime,” Hawley and Scott wrote.
The International Olympic Committee brushed the Senators aside, they wrote, and now it is up to NBC to take a moral stand.
“By overlooking China’s human rights record, you betray your viewers in misleading them about the most important threat facing our values and our way of life. Please pick human rights over profits,” the Senators urge.
Back in 2018, then-Gov. Scott’s blind trust included investments in companies that transact with the controversial ZTE telecommunications company.
His campaign called questions about them “ridiculous,” amid a barrage of other investments with questionable companies from questionable countries.
As a Senator, however, Scott’s call is for uncompromising divestment, as the China issue has become a primary concern to him.