British Actor Stephen Fry Protests the Winter Olympics in Russia

Since Russia passed several draconian anti-gay laws, many human rights activists have criticized the 2014 Winter Olympics being held in Sochi. Now, the gay English actor Stephen Fry has written an open letter to U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, calling for a ban on those games in February.

Despite personal political differences, Fry has expressed his respect for Cameron’s upholding of LGBT rights in the U.K. by helping pass same-sex marriage legislation. In the letter, he compared holding the Winter Games in Russia to those held in 1936 in Berlin, stating that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews.”

The Guardian reports:

Fry said: “An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 in Sochi is simply essential. Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillehammer, anywhere you like. At all costs, Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.”

The new laws, passed by the Duma, prohibit “propaganda” in support of “non-traditional” sexual orientation and threaten heavy fines for anyone “promoting” homosexuality to under-18s.

They have coincided with a sharp rise in reports of homophobia and attacks on the LGBT community in Russia.

In the letter, which was also sent to the London 2012 organising committee chairman, Lord Coe, Fry added: “The summer Olympics of 2012 were one of the most glorious moments of my life and the life of my country. For there to be a Russian Winter Olympics would stain the movement forever and wipe away any of that glory.”

A couple of months before the heinous laws were passed in June, Fry met with Vitaly Milonov, the politician responsible for St. Petersburg’s ban on gay propaganda last year. The meeting ended in Milonov’s promise to pray for Fry’s soul, a discussion you can soon watch in the actor’s documentary “Out There” on BBC2.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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