20% of the public think British athletes should boycott next year’s Winter Olympics in Russia, although almost four in ten Britons aged 18-24 want the boycott
Last Wednesday, August 7th, Stephen Fry published an open letter calling for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, over recent anti-gay measures passed in the country. The letter, which was shared extensively on social media and was followed by a public protest in London over the weekend, even earned a response from Prime Minister David Cameron himself, who expressed his “deep concern about the abuse of gay people in Russia” but stopped short of backing a boycott.
New YouGov research reveals the public largely sides against a boycott, but younger voters show significant solidarity with Fry’s cause.
Overall 63% of the British public think British athletes should not boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics over anti-gay policies in Russia, which include laws outlawing gay pride events and banning the provision of information about homosexuality to under 18s. One in five Britons, or 20%, support the boycott.
Younger people in Britain support the boycott in significant numbers. The youngest British adults, for instance, are about as likely to support the boycott (as 38% do) as they are to oppose it (as 40% do). However, Britons aged 65 and up say Britain should not boycott the games by a substantial margin of 75% to 12% who support the boycott.
Fry himself told the BBC that it is “probably not realistic” to expect the boycott to actually happen, although it remains realistic to call for it and to get people thinking about the issue. In his letter Fry compared the 2014 Games to the 1936 Olympic Games, which took place in Nazi Germany.Image: Getty