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Sochi: NBC Criticized for Editing Anti-Discrimination Remarks From Opening Ceremony Speech

Sochi Opening Ceremony Winter Olympics - H 2014
AP Images

The network says IOC president Thomas Bach's comments condemning "any form of discrimination" were not included in the telecast because of time constraints.

NBC is being criticized by some viewers for omitting an anti-discrimination statement from IOC president Thomas Bach's Winter Olympics opening ceremony remarks.

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Deadspin spotted the difference between the speech as it aired on NBC's tape-delayed broadcast compared to what audiences saw on British TV. Among the cut segments was a call 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. Yes, it is possible -- even as competitors -- to listen, to understand and to give an example for a peaceful society," Bach said.

NBC's Olympic spokesperson tells The Hollywood Reporter the edits were for time purposes.

"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.

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Discrimination has been a hot-button issue surrounding the Sochi games after Russia passed controversial anti-gay legislation last year.

Among the viewers criticizing NBC for the omission are Upworthy's Adam Mordecai, who tweeted to NBC "the audacity of your idiocy knows no bounds," while an Illinois man wrote "How can the US criticize Russia for being anti-gay when @NBC refused to air the anti-discrimination statement." The Twitter account for the Libertarian blog Popehat tweeted "At home, NBC profits from shows with gay characters, cast, writers, etc. In Russia, NBC edits anti-discrimination statement from speech."

NBC's opening ceremony broadcast brought in 31.7 million viewers during primetime (8-11 p.m.) on Friday.