LONDON — Russian news anchor Dmitry Kiselev, who is deputy director of pubcaster Russia One, has denied that a comment he made on TV in which he said the hearts of gay people should be “burned” was homophobic.
On a show broadcast in April 2012, but posted on YouTube with English sub-titles on Saturday, Kiselev said: “I believe that imposing fines on gays for homosexual propaganda to minors is insufficient. They should be prohibited from donating blood, sperm and, in the case of a road accident, their hearts should be either buried or burned as unsuitable for the prolongation of life.”
In an interview with the newspaper Izvestia on Monday, Kiselev rejects allegations of homophobia, and claims that he was simply advocating that Russia adopt rules on blood and organ donation followed by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S.
“This is internationally-recognized practice and I called for nothing unusual. This is a norm in the U.S., Europe, Japan, in the Arab countries — practically everywhere, but not in Russia,” he said.
“If he (a gay man) is a biker and he gets his head torn off (in a road accident), he would not be considered as an organ donor. He will be either committed to the earth or cremated,” Kiselev said.
Kiselev claimed he had intended to initiate a public discussion on the issue.
“There must be a law in Russia prohibiting these people becoming donors. A law that would make a lie on this matter a crime, because this is a personal responsibility and a grievous sin,” he told Izvestia.
Kiselev’s comments are likely to stoke demands by gay advocacy groups, and supported by showbiz figures such as playwright Harvey Fierstein and British actor-writer Stephen Fry, for a boycott of next year’s Winter Olympic in Sochi, Russia.
Legislation outlawing the promotion of homosexuality was passed by Russian lawmakers in June, and Russia’s Interior Ministry confirmed Monday that the law will be enforced during the Winter Olympics.