Two U.S. senators called on NBC on Thursday to refuse to air the 2022 Winter Olympics, citing China’s “abysmal record on human rights.”
In a letter, U.S. Sens. Rick Scott (R., Fl.) and Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) asked NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke and NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel to either urge the International Olympic Committee to find a new host for the winter games, or refuse to broadcast the sporting event.
The senators pointed to reports of China spying on and imprisoning Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic group, as well as China’s stance against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
“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,” the senators wrote. “Please pick human rights over profits.”
NBCUniversal spokespersons did not immediately return a request for comment.
NBCUniversal, which is owned by Philadelphia-based Comcast, agreed to pay $7.75 billion for the exclusive broadcast rights to six Olympic Games from 2022 to 2032. Last week, NBC announced it had already received $1 billion in national advertising commitments for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
The senators’ letter was first reported by Axios.