A gay reporter was kicked off a Russian television news broadcast Wednesday after he vocally protested the country's anti-gay laws during the middle of a segment.
James Kirchick, a journalist and foreign correspondent who has written for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Ha’aretz, was invited as a guest on Russia's RT network to discuss the Bradley Manning sentencing. Instead, however, he chose to use the platform to challenge Russia's anti-gay laws, the Washington Free Beacon first reported.
He began by quoting openly gay playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein, who has been fervently speaking out against homophobia in the foreign nation and who recently said, "When evil shows its face you have to answer."
"Being here on a Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I'm gonna wear my gay pride suspenders, and 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 [and] that effectively makes it illegal to talk about homosexuality in public," Kirchick said.
When the host attempted to interject, Kirchick continued, "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. And 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."
He also questioned how the host could sleep at night while other journalists in Russia are being harassed and tortured.
Kirchick eventually disappeared from the screen, the Free Beacon noted. He later took to Twitter to discuss what happened after.
True fact: @RT_com just called taxi company that took me to studio to drop me off on the side of the highway on way to Stockholm airport
— Jamie Kirchick (@jkirchick) August 21, 2013
Russia's new legislation, implemented last month, is supposed to block "homosexual propaganda" around minors. However, it "bars the public discussion of gay rights and relationships anywhere children might hear it" and is punishable by law, CNN notes. The law has been challenged by human rights activists because of its ambiguous and discriminatory nature.
Kirchick most recently discussed Russia's anti-gay sentiment in an article for the Daily Beast earlier this month. In it, he wrote about how America's conservative religious right -- who once declared Russia the enemy -- is now in favor of Putin because of the "freedom-limiting tactics."
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