James Kirchick was kicked off of a Russian television broadcast on Wednesday after he vocally protested that nation’s anti-gay laws. Kirchick is a journalist who has written for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Ha’aretz.
Kirchick was invited onto Russia’s RT network to discuss the sentencing of Bradley Manning. He chose, instead, to challenge Russia’s anti-gay laws even quoting openly gay playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein saying that “When evil shows its face you have to answer.”
Fierstein has been an advocate fighting homophobia for some time.
Kirchick states in the program that “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.”
When the host attempted to get a word in edgewise, Kirchick continued by saying that “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.”
Kirchick then challenged the host asking them how they could sleep at night given the suppression of journalists in Russia. He was eventually taken off the screen and took to Twitter to say that “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.”
Kirchick recently wrote at The Daily Beast about how the US Religious Right have been all in favor of Vladimir Putin in recent years due to his attacks on people’s freedoms despite once having seen him as their enemy.
Russia’s Duma recently passed a law that is, on paper, suppose to block LGBT activists from talking to children about homosexuality and block any positive portrayals of homosexuality in the media. In reality, it has been used to shut down everything including Pride parades, and been used as cover for thugs luring gay teens out and beating and torturing them.
Kirchick is openly gay.