Miss Universe Pageant Won’t Exit Russia Despite Anti-Gay Laws, 27,000-Signature Petition

Miss Universe

Every day, the pressure for organizations and corporations to distance themselves from Russia and its draconian, anti-gay regime seems to grow. Earlier this month, a change.org petition was created to urge the Miss Universe Organization to move their 2013 pageant competition away from Moscow due to safety concerns for LGBT contestants and fans. Today, that petition has gathered over 27,000 signatures.

MissuniverseFrom the petition:

"When the Miss Universe Organization allowed transgender beauty Jenna Talackova to enter the Miss Universe Canada pageant in 2012, reversing its previous policies on the matter, it sent a strong and unequivocal message in favor of equality and of the LGBTQ community. Choosing Russia as a host country undermines this progress.

Many Miss Universe fans, myself included, identify as LGBTQ – and surely many employees of the organization are, as well. How are any of these people, who might want or will have to attend the event, supposed to travel to Russia under these new laws and feel safe, when they could (and likely will) be beaten, arrested and/or detained on the spot for being who they are? Clearly, there is more at stake here than the organization's reputation.

With this petition, we are asking the Miss Universe Organization to send a strong message in favor of equality and human rights by pulling out from hosting the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow."

Meanwhile, the Miss Universe Organization has issued a statement of its own condemning Russia's ban on "gay propaganda", stating the anti-gay law is "diametrically opposed to the core values of our company."

From the statement:

The Miss Universe Organization believes in equality for all individuals and is deeply concerned by the laws recently enacted in Russia and currently in place in several other countries. Both the law, as well as the violence experienced by the LGBT community in Russia, are diametrically opposed to the core values of our company. Our organization has always embodied a spirit of inclusion and is a celebration of people from all countries and walks of life.

It is our hope this year's Miss Universe contest in Moscow will help foster a common understanding and appreciation of the rights of all individuals, regardless of their nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation.

The best way to advocate for the 'rights of all individuals,' however, would be to move the pageant, regardless of any financial or logistical setbacks. No one ever said advocating for social change or human rights was easy…

To add your name to the growing petition, head over to the change.org page HERE.

Comments

  1. Onnyjay says

    Yawn, “beauty” pageants, so Dark Ages. Can anyone possibly take them seriously nowadays?

  2. Leroy Laflamme says

    “It is our hope this year’s Miss Universe contest in Moscow will help foster a common understanding and appreciation of the rights of all individuals…”

    Yes, but how, exactly?

  3. da says

    Does it surprise anyone that Donald Trump is joint owner of the Miss Universe brand along with NBC Universal. Makes the statement affirming rights seem to be so much lying window dressing. Oligarchs of a foul feather sticking together to protect their nest eggs.

  4. Mike Ryan says

    Then we don’t watch, we don’t support it, we belittle it as well as those advertisers who appear on the program. The Miss Universe has a poor reputation now. Won’t take much to put it in the gutter.

  5. Mike says

    Beauty Pageants are a dying phenomena. The only news they make are when some contestant makes a brain-dead statement. The only fascination that they hold for gay men is high camp. But put that pageant in a gay-hating country like Russia, a place that even Andy Cohen won’t go despite the kitsch of Miss Universe (and let’s face it, Bravo should be called the Gay Kitsch Network) and what do you get, a Miss Universe watched by creepy old perverts like Trump and Putin. And they’re both too old and egotistical to realize the rest if the world thinks they’re a joke.

  6. Craig says

    Maybe the costume designers need to boycott, then it would just be a nudefest. But then again Putin would prefer that anyway.

  7. Marc says

    If they aren’t willing to walk away, then any talk about advocating for equality is a lie. If they cared, they’d act. They aren’t doing anything. Actions speak louder than words. I would ask them: So WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO PROVE YOU SUPPORT EQUALITY? Talk is cheap. Act or shut up.

  8. Will says

    This Russian LBGT ant-gay law is both dangerous and deadly and this country should not be given the privilege of the world stage and the prestige of the Miss Universe pageant.

  9. Leo says

    Miss Universe pageants whole source of support comes from gay fans who dedicate their lives to supporting this organization. It’s a shame that when gay people could have used their support, they turned their back.

  10. Diego says

    I know the Miss Universe organization is gay friendly in that they were adamantly opposed to Carrie Prejean, and generally are a lot more progressive than the Miss America organization. But I do think from a business stand point, they would be smart to consider their heavily populated gay fan base. A formal response, or some showcase of support for the gay community maybe even during the pageant is called for.

  11. C.J says

    I love pageants. I won’t lie. They are fun, and glamorous and silly and sometimes you just need events that celebrate camp. But I expect more from a system I have supported, and even attended the pageants in person. When I say the gay community truly keeps these pageants going: it wouldn’t be an understatement.

  12. Dude in Dallas says

    My friend was a state titleholder and she said gay men were involved in every bracket of pageantry and supported it more than any other demographic. From the directors, to coaches, designers, hair dressers, production, costume design, even fans are mostly all gay men. This decision is very surprising.

    And pageants aren’t all bad. They really do help many women as far as confidence, endorsements, and opportunities.

  13. JAM says

    I’ve been around the Miss Universe organization and know some of the staff. It’s definitely not a homophobic organization. They allow transgendered contestants, which is huge. They also work with the gay men’s health center, and have previously supported many gay rights issues.

    The pageant being held there is because Russia offered the money whereas many other countries wouldn’t (in this economic crisis). And they made the decision to go to Russia a year ago. Signed the contract. And venues were being built just to stage the various competitions. At this point, it be way too late to do anything about it. I honestly believe Miss Universe organization would have sought out a different host city had the law passed earlier than the contract being signed.

  14. Cortez says

    @JAM

    That’s what I read too. That the pageant committee had chosen Russia long before Russia passed this anti gay ordinance. So they really had no way of knowing. Heck, many of us LGBT were clueless about Russia’s homophobia until recently.

  15. William says

    I mean, with the pageant starting in less than 3 months, what can they do? They can’t find a new host city, which takes at least a year. The pageant is a month long event full of appearances, and they need to secure a venue for the live telecast. The organization has a license to be telecast in over 120 countries. If they don’t find a venue, they have 120 multi million dollar lawsuits, not to mention the various national directors from each country who pay the Miss Universe organization a fee to send a national representative to compete in the international contest. No pageant? well, the pageant would have to pay literally billions of dollars.

    I honestly think the ONLY realistic thing the pageant can do is air a pro gay message or gesture during the competition. And something tells me they will.

  16. johnny says

    If all the gay people who do the dresses, hair, makeup, lighting, etc. simply don’t go….?

    It would send a definite message.

  17. Jeff says

    JAM I understand what you are saying. I know Gay people that work for Miss Universe as well. I do believe it will be a black mark against Miss Universe pageant though. When the contestants spout off their speeches of how they want the world a better place each one will look like a hypocrite along with the organization because in the end they really should just be saying I am doing this for the money and position and I will step over whomever and whichever group to make it to the top! (or somewhere below the middle where Miss Universe is concerned) It just goes to show NBC and Donald Trump (who run the organization)think of gay people.

  18. Geoff says

    So-called “beauty pageants” should have disappeared 50-75 years ago. It’s bizarre and sick we’re even discussing them with “straight” faces. Donald Trump’s hair should win, though, as ‘most peculiar material’ found on Earth’.

  19. Koskalaka Maricón says

    Hey, Miss Universe Organization: Try making your statement, above, vocally or in writing at any time *during* the taped telecast of your pageant in Moscow. Oh,… what’s that… you won’t?… you can’t?… I see,… well, I thought as much. So, fellow space travelers, we have, yet, another synonym for hypocrite: “Miss Universe Organization.”

  20. Jesse says

    Andy Cohen refused to host. But what about the others? Guilianna Rancic needs to decline, too…and any other celebrity who is “on our side” or the boycott of Russian vodka should extend to them. Ain’t gonna play Sun Cit was the 1980s to protest South Africas apartheid. “Ain’t gonna play Russia” should be mantra of today.

  21. SAYTHETRUTH says

    Relics from times where there was no Internet and common folks masturbated when the appeared on swimwear.