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Andy Cohen Turns Down Hosting Miss Universe In Moscow, Cites Russia's Anti-Gay Policies


Coming on the heels of the recent anti-gay atrocities in Russia, Andy Cohen announced he will not be returning to his gig as co-host of the Miss Universe pageant in 2013 as the pageant is being held in Moscow for the first time ever.

E! News reports that Cohen, the popular host of Bravo's Watch What Happens Live and the glory that is every Bravo reunion, told two-time co-host Giuliana Rancic, that "he turned [the job] down because '[Russia's] discriminatory policies make it unsafe for the gays who live there and gays coming to work or visit...The law is that anyone under suspicion of homosexuality can be arrested'...adding that he 'didn't feel right as a gay man stepping foot into Russia.'"

Cohen has previously co-hosted the pageant in 2011 and 2012. The pageant is put on by the Miss Universe Organization which is co-owned by NBC Universal and Donald Trump.

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  1. Giuliana, your move.

    Posted by: excy | Aug 15, 2013 1:37:40 PM

  2. Good for Andy

    Posted by: Alex | Aug 15, 2013 1:39:04 PM

  3. way to go, andy!

    Posted by: northalabama | Aug 15, 2013 1:40:41 PM

  4. As others have mentioned, it's strange how much emphasis we're placing on the Olympics. I understand it's the most high profile event, but I really think there's very little chance of moving it. But there are dozens of events happening there every year, many in more preliminary stage and with more "western" roots and thus more susceptible to pressure. Miss Universe is a good example of an event we probably could have moved with some pressure, although it sounds like it might be too late if it's scheduled for this year.

    Posted by: Brian1 | Aug 15, 2013 1:42:11 PM

  5. Eyes are on you Giuliana...and whomever does do the gig! Good for you Andy.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 15, 2013 1:55:44 PM

  6. i never thought focusing on the olympics was "strange", and here's why: under the ioc charter and the hosting contract, discrimination of any kind is strictly forbidden. yet, based on comments and actions by russian authorities, and media reports of mistreatment of citizens and visitors, it appears the ioc is ignoring it's own policies and legal requirements, and placing athletes and workers in harms way.

    it actually seems a very logical place to focus attention, due to the appearance of hypocrisy on the part of the ioc.

    Posted by: northalabama | Aug 15, 2013 1:56:13 PM

  7. holy f*ck, Brian1 give it up!

    Posted by: it's not strange at all | Aug 15, 2013 1:58:39 PM

  8. Good for him!

    Posted by: reality | Aug 15, 2013 2:09:41 PM

  9. Thank you, sir.

    Posted by: Randy | Aug 15, 2013 2:11:20 PM

  10. Brian1, I understand your confusion, and I think I can explain why The Olympics is such a BFD.

    Back int he early 60's when Ralph Nader published his book about the American Automotive Industry, "Unsafe At Any Speed", people had similar attitudes, because public perception was that to promote a vehicle as safe implied that there was something wrong with it. Previous attempts in the 50's by Ford to implement safety features hit their bottom line because of this, and those features were abandoned because of public perception.

    That's really what it's all about. PR and advertising and media is not truth, accurate, or even reasonable. It's a game of public perception, of lowest common denominators, and of trying to educate the public to accept or consider things they were reluctant to incapable of comprehending.

    It wasn't until the court cases and the crash test results started piling up that the automotive industry manipulated media started to come around, in part because of Nader, in part because of a now mostly forgotten defunct magazine called Road Test, which refused ANY advertising revenues at all from anybody, thereby disconnecting reviews and reviewers from being controlled by the industry interests, and focusing on the consumers needs.

    You need to understand, American automobiles were death traps at the time. Car crashes were the leading cause of death in Americans between ages 5 and 30. And even though simple seat belts were found to reduce fatalities by FIVE TIMES in studies in the 50's, they were still optional in cars.

    So understand, the goal isn't to do the impossible, like wave a magic wand and change Russia overnight. It's to draw attention to inequality, and bring about change. Moving the Olympics isn't really the goal; the goal is to bring about lasting change, and make people aware just how brutal and unfair the targeting of GLBT youth is everywhere.

    Posted by: Peaches | Aug 15, 2013 2:13:37 PM

  11. good for you andy. pressure has to come from everywhere. no matter if the sponsors pull out or not our message being heard. even if there are lots of legal tangles and its not perfect. the more pressure the better and the louder the better.

    Posted by: m | Aug 15, 2013 2:16:06 PM

  12. Not sure why my comment got such a hostile response from It's not Strange at All. I'm just saying there are lots of events that are going to Russia, and we should be broadening the boycott idea to target those that are more likely to be moved. I don't think it was an outlandish comment. Peaches, I agree with everything you've said, so to reiterate I'm not trying to abandon the Olympic boycott. Even though it may have little hope of succeeding, I agree there is considerable PR benefit to the campaign. But I still think supplementing it with a broader effort to include things like Miss Universe would be a good idea. And Northalabama, I agree generally that the Olympics is vulnerable on broad discrimination issues, but their charter specifically excludes sexual orientation from their discrimination language. I also think many other events are more responsive to human rights protests than the IOC.

    Posted by: Brian1 | Aug 15, 2013 2:32:01 PM

  13. @Brian1 - that person is just having a toxic queen day...just ignore it. Par for the course. Everyone has their moments.

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Aug 15, 2013 2:46:42 PM

  14. the reason is in your first comment you were extremely 'strange' it is we are focusing on the Olympics, Really? Have you been reading anything here lately, @ Brian1

    it's pretty obvious why, IMHO. Then going on about how you think there's very little chance of the Olympics being moved, we get it! Then going on about other events that are more 'western' (as opposed to a Nazi parade?) We're focusing on the Olympics right now, don't distract us with the Miss Universe, we'll get to seems you want to give us a distraction to then only say that it's already too late for that as well, I see through you!

    Posted by: Ajna | Aug 15, 2013 3:12:38 PM

  15. What's a gay man hosting a women's beauty pageant for anyway? I'm sure they won't be phased. He can go out and have drinks with Dan Savage instead--both key players on the world stage.

    Posted by: Matt | Aug 15, 2013 3:21:16 PM

  16. Why was he in bed with Donald Trump in the first place? Ew.

    Posted by: PDX Guy | Aug 15, 2013 3:25:00 PM

  17. Good for him - but he should have waited till right before the event for maximum impact.

    Posted by: Tom | Aug 15, 2013 3:41:48 PM

  18. Good for him! Thanks. Now it's time for co-host Giuliana Rancic to do the same thing.

    Posted by: Dearcomrade | Aug 15, 2013 3:42:05 PM

  19. @Ajna,

    Yes, you got me, I confess. I planted that comment to singlehandedly derail the olympic boycott and take the pressure off my paymasters in Russia. And something about a nazi parade.

    Now go take your meds.

    Posted by: Brian1 | Aug 15, 2013 3:48:12 PM

  20. I just posted the question to Giuliana on her Facebook page:

    Let's see how many of you folks can do the same.

    Posted by: Dearcomrade | Aug 15, 2013 3:49:15 PM

  21. I am a concern troll.

    Posted by: BRIAN1 | Aug 15, 2013 3:51:55 PM

  22. yes, it's clear you are concerned, about what exactly, that's the question, right?. If you meant what you said the second time, you wouldn't of needed an elaborate explanation, to what you meant in the first place.

    Posted by: it's quite simple really | Aug 15, 2013 4:04:32 PM

  23. @It's quite simple/It's not strange,

    The last post wasn't me obviously, I assume it was you or ajna. I'm not sure why you're going after me but I think you might be confused from a previous post where you're arguing with someone named Brian who isn't me. And if you're going after me just because of this post, then there's something wrong with you because it was a really basic point that shouldn't be at all controversial. I repeated it a second time because i figured you didn't get it the first time.

    Posted by: Brian1 | Aug 15, 2013 4:13:30 PM

  24. you're not sure why I'm going 'after you', I simply responded to your comment, isn't that what 'concerned trolls' like, attention? & you find it so strange why we're focusing on the Olympics, GFR - you need the meds more than you think I do, buddy.

    Posted by: legion | Aug 15, 2013 4:32:28 PM

  25. ...& by the way, kudos to Mr. Cohen

    Posted by: legion | Aug 15, 2013 4:33:37 PM

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