As if the 2016 Rio Olympics weren’t bad enough on their own (you know, what with the city’s massive corruption problem, its infested water, and its unpaid cops), the event is still terrible over two months after the competition ended. Why? Because the organizers still haven’t paid hundreds of people who worked their asses off to make the Olympics possible. Now, said workers are ready to sue.
According to the Associated Press, among those who haven’t been paid yet are “about 100 freelance contractors who worked as stadium announcers, show producers and DJs, and several hundred others who worked for the Olympic News Service.”
South African freelance show producer Rocky Bester, a spokesman for the contractors, told the AP that he’s never had problems at previous Olympics, and that he’s currently working with a legal firm.
“We’ve had robust conversations at other Olympics about payments, but it’s always been an open conversation. What is happening here is that no one is talking back. We’re sitting in the dark. We’re mushrooms at the moment…[It’s a] basic lack of respect.”
Rio Olympic officials were quick to point the finger at their sponsors, the Rio city hall, and the International Olympic Committee, claiming they still haven’t received payments themselves. “We are paying, but not all the money we need to have for payments has been received,” Rio spokesman Mario Andrada told the AP. “We are struggling a bit in making the ends meet.”
The Rio Olympics have had money problems from the start, and organizers broke their promise to only use private money when the games opened after they used millions in a bailout from the city and federal governments, according to the AP. Now, organizers owe creditors about $32 million.
“Everybody will be paid,” Andrada added. “The trouble is the delay. We will pay the money.”