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Olympic Official Calling It Quits Because of Dow Chemical Sponsorship

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 26, 2012 04:02 PM

This summer’s Olympic Games in London have caught a lot of flak for having Dow Chemical as one of its big-bucks sponsors, since a subsidiary of the company had a gas leak in India back in 1984 that killed anywhere from 8,000 to 15,000 people. The whole thing has ruffled a lot of feathers and has even had some folks threatening to boycott.

The thing that really set protestors off is that Dow will sponsor a £7m ($9.2m) fabric wrap around one of the Olympic stadiums. A month ago, it looked like Dow was succumbing to the pressure and would agree to not have the wrap, but now it appears that the wrap is still on.

“It’s a little curious that [protesters] would select a wrap and say we just don’t want you to be on the stadium, but not address all of the other places that we are in the Olympic world,” George Hamilton, the vice president of Dow’s Olympic operations, told the Financial Times.

Folks in London likely imagined that the lead up to the Games would be a little more feel-good than this and showcase their leaders in a better light. One Brit has had enough of it.

The Times reports that Meredith Alexander, a member of the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, is resigning because she feels the “body had become an ‘apologist for Dow Chemical.’”

“The decision to resign is because I’m very unhappy to be publicly associated with a stance which falsely legitimizes Dow’s claim that it has no responsibility for Bhopal,” Alexander said, according to the FT.

Dow has been saying that it had nothing to do with the Union Carbide gas leak since it didn’t buy the company till 2001 and that all legal claims had been handled by 1989.

Alexander resigns after she failed to a clarification or retraction to a letter published last month by the commission’s chair that “defended the due diligence processes taken by (the London Organizing Committee) in awarding Dow the tender, without, in her view, sufficient investigation,” the Financial Times reports.

"It is appalling that 27 years on, the site has still not been cleaned up and thousands upon thousands of people are still suffering,” Alexander said, the Mirror reports. “I believe people should be free to enjoy London 2012 without this toxic legacy on their conscience."

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