Gay Reporter Condemns Anti-Gay Laws on Russian Television
An American reporter was kicked off a Russian television news broadcast after he protested the country's anti-gay laws during a segment, and a Russian TV host was fired after coming out on the air.
"Being silent in the face of evil is something we can't do," a gay foreign correspondent and columnist, James Kirchick, donned rainbow suspenders and quoted playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein on the Kremlin-funded news network RT.
This protest happened when he first appeared live from Stockholm, Sweden on the RT segment, which was intended to be a discussion of the fate of Bradley Manning. But fundamentally Kirchick hijacked the conversation to address more pertinent concerns.
"I'm gonna speak out against the horrific anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin has signed into law, that was passed by the Russian Duma, that criminalizes homosexual propaganda--that effectively makes it illegal to talk about homosexuality in public," Kirchick said, calling the RT a "propaganda network".
When the segment host attempted to steer Kirchick back to the subject at hand, he refused saying, "I'm not really interested in talking about Bradley Manning. I'm interested in talking about the horrific environment of homophobia in Russia right now.
"To let the Russian gay people know that they have friends and allies and solidarity from people all over the world. And that we are not going to be silent in the face of this horrific repression that is perpetrated by your paymasters--by Vladimir Putin.
"That's what I'm here to talk about."
Kirchick will be interviewed on MSNBC by Lawrence O'Donnell tomorrow night at 10pm.
Kirchick was not the first person to speak out about the Russia's discriminatory environment on Russian national television. Even before the new legislation, blocking "homosexual propaganda" around minors was signed into law, a Russian TV host was fired for coming-out on his show.
KontrTV discharged Anton Krasovsky immediately after he protested the anti-gay climate in Russia last January, reports the NY Daily News, and any evidence of what he did was deleted from the Internet as if it had never happened.
"I’m gay," the former anchor said during his final broadcast, "and I’m just the same person as you, my dear audience, as President Putin, as Prime Minister Medvedev and the deputies of our Duma."
Seventy-five percent of Russian people in a widely quoted poll said they are against gay "behavior" and "homosexual rights" reports CNN.
"I’m not sure that [the] Putin regime is Fascist," Krasovsky told CNN. The former host compared the current environment in Russia to the atmosphere in Great Brittan under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher.
"It’s a total copy of the Brittan anti-gay propaganda law," he said. "It’s not easy, it’s not [an] easy time in Russia."
In spite of this, Krasovsky warns that Russia will not benefit from protests that boycott the Sochi Olympics, reports the NY Daily News.
"Russian gay people need international support, but international support is not a boycott of Sochi Olympic games, because Olympic games is an international event," Krasovsky told CNN cited by the Daily News.
"It’s not a Russian event, it’s not a personal event of Putin, it’s an event of millions and millions of people ... 7 million people in Russia are gay.
"If you want to boycott Olympic games in Russia, you’re trying to boycott 7 million gay people in Russia.
"You want to boycott me."