Boston Bars City Employees From Criticizing The Olympics

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Nobody who lives in Boston actually wants the city to win its bid for the 2024 Olympic games. And yet, in a joinder agreement between the city and the United States Olympic Committee, mayor Marty Walsh has signed a contract that forbids city employees from speaking negatively about the big, the IOC, or the Olympic games. It's a great day for free speech in the cradle of liberty.

Here's the actual language from the agreement, which is embedded below. It goes further than merely barring workers from bashing the games; it requires that they actively "promote" the whole damn thing "in a positive manner."

The City, including its employees, officers and representatives, shall not make, publish or communicate to any Person, or communicate in any public forum, any comments or statements (written or oral) that reflect unfavorably upon, denigrate or disparage, or are detrimental to the reputation or statute of, the IOC, the IPC, the USOC, the IOC Bid, the Bid Committee or the Olympic or Paralympic movement. The City, including its employees, officers and representatives, shall each promote the Bid Committee, the USOC, the IOC Bid, U.S. Olympics and Paralympics athletes and hopefuls and the Olympic and Paralympic movement in a positive manner.


Cool, cool.

Walsh's office says this is really no big deal, it's in every USOC contract, they just didn't expect anyone to read the fine print:

"Mayor Walsh is not looking to limit the free speech of his employees and, as residents of Boston, he fully supports them participating in the community process. This was standard boilerplate language for the Joinder Agreement with the USOC that all applicant cities have historically signed. The Mayor looks forward to the first citywide community meeting that will be held next week."

The mayor's spokesperson also said employees would "absolutely not" face discipline for calling the games a soulless, corporate money-suck that merely makes the rich richer and leaves cities with huge debts and enormous white elephants.


[Mass Live]