U.S. Reporter Stages Gay Pride Protest on Russia Today (Video)
- The Moscow Times
- Aug. 21 2013 21:00
- Last edited 21:00
Video of the unexpected gay pride gesture during a segment that was meant to discuss the Bradley Manning verdict.
A U.S. reporter appearing on state-run television channel Russia Today on Wednesday to discuss the Bradley Manning verdict used his two minutes of airtime to protest Russia's anti-gay propaganda law and slam President Vladimir Putin.
James Kirchik, who was speaking via video link from Stockholm with Russia Today news anchors, wore rainbow-colored suspenders on the air and began his speech by noting that "being silent in the face of evil is something we can't do."
"So you know, being here on a Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I'm going to wear my gay pride suspenders and speak out against the horrific anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin has signed into law, that was passed unanimously by the Russian Duma … that effectively makes it illegal to talk about homosexuality in public. We've seen a spate of violent attacks on gay people in Russia."
One of the news anchors, apparently flustered by the unexpected comments, says, "We'll talk about it later. But what about Bradley Manning?"
"I'm not really interested in talking about Bradley Manning," Kirchik said. "I'm interested in talking about the horrific environment of homophobia in Russia right now. And to let Russian gay people know that they have friends and allies, and solidarity, from people all over the world. And we're not going to be silenced in the face of this horrific repression that is perpetrated by your paymasters, by Vladimir Putin."
"And I don't know how, as a journalist, you can go to sleep at night. How you can call yourself a journalist. And how you can go to sleep at night. I find that abominable. You should be ashamed of yourself. Everyone who works for this network should be ashamed of themselves," Kirchik said.
After trying several times to get Kirchik to discuss the Manning verdict, the segment was apparently cut short. Kirchik later wrote on Twitter that the network canceled his car service over his uncooperative appearance.
"RT just called taxi company that took me to studio to drop me off on the side of the highway on way to Stockholm airport," he wrote.
Kirchik's speech comes as the latest Western protest of the controversial anti-gay propaganda law after a U.S. television host refused to host the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow because of the law. The law, which bans the promotion of homosexuality among minors, has been under intense scrutiny ahead of Russia's hosting of the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi.