×

Russian TV Anchor Rejects Allegations of Homophobia

Dmitry Kiselev had called for the hearts of gay men to be cremated

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.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun

    Viacom Channels Grab 'Seinfeld' Cable Rerun Rights

    Viacom has sealed a deal with Sony Pictures Television for the cable rights to “Seinfeld” starting in October 2021. The deal comes on the heels of a blockbuster new deal between Sony and Netflix for the streaming rights to the beloved NBC sitcom that also begins in 2021. “Seinfeld” reruns have been a staple of [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers

    Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers From Skipping Fox Ad Breaks

    Fox is hoping to knit together the seconds-long divide between a TV program and the commercials that support it. During ad breaks for a few football broadcasts, tomorrow’s run of the Emmys and Wednesday’s season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” the network will kick off ad sessions with special show promos that display artistic renderings [...]

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content