×

Russian Newsman Fired for Being Gay Speaks Out on Country

Anton Krasovsky’s experience offers insight into issue that will most likely play out across the world’s media during the 2014 Winter Olympics

The reaction across the globe to Russia’s anti-gay laws has been vocal and swift, but Anton Krasovsky’s experience offers insight into an issue that will most likely play out across the world’s media during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Krasovsky, fired from Russia’s KontrTV when he disclosed that he is gay, thinks the Kremlin has been surprised by the reaction in the West. “This anti-gay law wasn’t supposed to provoke such a hue and cry. No one expected such a worldwide response. People in the Kremlin feel uncomfortable about being involved in this matter, but they can’t back down,” he tells Variety.

Vladimir Putin was elected last year for his third term as president — an election disputed by many opposition figures. Since then, Russia has become a more repressive and less tolerant society, Krasovsky says, driven by siloviki, a name given to former members of the security services and the military. They are Putin supporters who are now in positions of power in politics and business. “It began right after Putin’s return to the presidency. Maybe he didn’t instigate it, but siloviki got the feeling that they had won the fight, and have started to take their revenge.”

Though there have been calls for boycotts of Russian products and the Winter Olympics, the newsman says, “I am against any kind of boycott. On the contrary: The Sochi Olympics should be converted into a festival of tolerance. The colors of the national uniforms should be changed to rainbow, rainbow flags should be taken together with national ones, and people should cross the stadium with their partners.”

SEE ALSO: Russian TV Anchor Comes Out as Gay On the Air, Gets Fired

Krasovsky believes the solution lies in honest discussions. “We should help Russian gays, and educate straight Russians: They should be told that gays are neither brutes nor maniacs, but Olympic champions. There is hatred of gay people because of ignorance. Ignorant people should be taught.”

He was editor in chief at the Kremlin-controlled KontrTV, and spoke of being gay during a show about Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law in January. It is impossible to have a fair debate in the Russian media about LGBT rights, Krasovsky says. Homophobia is part of the government message, and the vast majority of mass media is controlled, indirectly or directly, by the state.

“Television has turned to stupid propaganda,” he says, adding that the work of a broadcast journalist in Russia has become “unreal.”

“There is no freedom of expression (in the mainstream media). There is some freedom of expression on Facebook pages, minor websites, (radio station) Echo of Moscow, and (independent TV channel) Dozhd, but there is none on the rest of TV,” he says.

As for being openly gay in the media, “It is a violation of a secret rule: You can be homosexual and no one will interfere in your private life — but you shouldn’t talk openly about it. The equality of relationships — the equal value of love — has yet to be accepted.”

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Spotify Announces Upgrades to Family Plan,

    Spotify Announces Upgrades to Family Plan, at No Charge in U.S. and U.K.

    Just days after reports emerged that Spotify is aiming to increase the price of its family plan in its home market of Scandinavia, the streaming giant announced an upgrade to the plan — with no price increase in the U.S. and U.K., where it remains at $14.99 and £15, respectively. A rep for the company [...]

  • Untold Stories Film Program

    Robert De Niro's Company Files $6 Million Suit Against Ex-Employee

    Robert De Niro’s company has filed a $6 million lawsuit against a former employee, accusing her of embezzling money and binge-watching Netflix while on the job. Canal Productions, De Niro’s loan-out company, also accuses Chase Robinson of racking up exorbitant hotel and restaurant charges and using millions of De Niro’s frequent flyer miles for her [...]

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST

    Jay-Z Gets Shade From Kaepernick, Support From Cardi B as NFL Fallout Continues

    UPDATED: If anyone expected the drama surrounding Jay-Z’s deal with the NFL to calm down over the weekend, they were mistaken, as controversy and conversation continued to swirl. The situation grew even more intense late Friday when TMZ reported that Jay is looking to acquire a majority interest in an unspecified NFL team, which would [...]

  • Curiosity Stream Altice

    Altice USA Pacts With John Hendricks' CuriosityStream Service

    Altice USA has set a deal with John Hendricks’ CuriosityStream to expand distribution of the science- and history-focused subscription streaming service. The deal will make CuriosityStream available to all Altice USA’s 4.9 million customers across 21 states, including a big cluster serving New York and Connecticut. Altice also plans to add the CuriosityStream app to [...]

  • Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven

    Department of Justice Backs Led Zeppelin in ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Case

    The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on the next big music copyright case on the horizon following the Katy Perry “Dark Horse” decision, and taken Led Zeppelin’s side in the long-running copyright dispute that pits the writers of the group’s anthem “Stairway to Heaven” against the publishers of the earlier song “Taurus” by [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Prosecutors Make Last-Minute Move to Bolster Case

    The Manhattan D.A.’s office is making a last-minute bid to strengthen its case against Harvey Weinstein, who is set to be tried next month on charges of rape and sexual assault. Prosecutors notified the court on Tuesday that they will seek a new indictment. The D.A.’s office wants jurors to hear from Annabella Sciorra, the [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    Jeffrey Epstein's Autopsy Rules That He Died by Suicide

    Jeffrey Epstein’s death earlier this month has been ruled a suicide by hanging. The New York Times reported on Friday that the city’s medical examiner has officially made the ruling six days after Epstein was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. According to the Times, which cites a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content