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Stephen Fry: Putin 'is Making Scapegoats of Gay People, Just as Hitler Did Jews'

British actor Stephen Fry is joining calls for a relocation of the Sochi Games.

He writes on his blog, in part: Fry

An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi is simply essential. Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillyhammer, anywhere you like. At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.

He is making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews. He cannot be allowed to get away with it. I know whereof I speak. I have visited Russia, stood up to the political deputy who introduced the first of these laws, in his city of St Petersburg. I looked into the face of the man and, on camera, tried to reason with him, counter him, make him understand what he was doing. All I saw reflected back at me was what Hannah Arendt called, so memorably, “the banality of evil.” A stupid man, but like so many tyrants, one with an instinct of how to exploit a disaffected people by finding scapegoats. Putin may not be quite as oafish and stupid as Deputy Milanov but his instincts are the same. He may claim that the “values” of Russia are not the “values” of the West, but this is absolutely in opposition to Peter the Great’s philosophy, and against the hopes of millions of Russians, those not in the grip of that toxic mix of shaven headed thuggery and bigoted religion, those who are agonised by the rolling back of democracy and the formation of a new autocracy in the motherland that has suffered so much (and whose music, literature and drama, incidentally I love so passionately).

I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Every time in Russia (and it is constantly) a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian “correctively” raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.

Yesterday, actor and activist George Takei called for the Sochi Games to be moved.

Today, the International Olympic Committee will receive more than 300,000 signatures urging it to denounce Russia's anti-gay laws. 83 members of Congress this week called on John Kerry to clarify the U.S. State Department's position on the controversy.

Russian officials have issued conflicting statements about whether athletes and visitors to the Olympics will be prosecuted under the anti-gay laws. Thus far, the IOC has said it is standing by assurances from the Russian government that the laws will not apply to Sochi visitors, which does nothing to change the fact of their existence and the human rights abuses being inflicted upon LGBT people there on a daily basis.

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  1. I just love Stephen Fry. I know at times he has suffered from deep severe depression and has considered taking his own life but I hope that never happens. There is no finer representative of the Gay Community then the highly respected Stephen Fry. Everything he says is everything I, and I hope, we all believe.

    The IOC needs to move the Olympics out of Russia today and the World Games need to disgrace Russia even more by removing them as the upcoming host.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Aug 7, 2013 1:02:37 PM

  2. Yes, to weep anew....

    Posted by: Modern Meet | Aug 7, 2013 1:10:34 PM

  3. IOC is homophobic.

    Posted by: TheSeer | Aug 7, 2013 1:12:05 PM

  4. Thanks for posting.
    Very articulate and brutally accurate.
    Russia is wrong. Putin is wrong. IOC is wrong. They can be as stubborn as they want in their stupidity,ignorance and hate but the world is paying attention. :)

    Posted by: SFshawn | Aug 7, 2013 1:22:03 PM

  5. "Joining Calls" won't do it.

    Posted by: Josh | Aug 7, 2013 1:27:47 PM

  6. !!! CC: Barak Obama

    Posted by: Onnyjay | Aug 7, 2013 1:31:37 PM

  7. I have been against boycotting until reading Mr. Fry's statement. I am with him 100%.

    Posted by: Ken | Aug 7, 2013 1:40:25 PM

  8. This is the first time I realized how similar the situation of gays in Russia is to what Jews went through in Germany. I wonder how many other people have thought this besides me.

    Posted by: First Time | Aug 7, 2013 1:40:40 PM

  9. Stephen's personal involvement in trying to intercede with Milonov before the laws were enacted shows how deeply committed to human rights equality he is.

    I'm glad to see he supports MOVING the Winter Olympics but wherever these Games end up being held a show of solidarity with oppressed LGBT is still paramount.

    With the larger goal of bringing safety and equality to Russian LGBT in mind we need to bring international voices of support to the fore.

    Where is UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's denouncement?

    Calling on US Ambassador Samantha Power to step up. Your voice of condemnation of newly enacted anti-gay laws and Russia turning a blind eye to torture and murder of it's LGBT citizens is expected.

    Posted by: JONES | Aug 7, 2013 2:31:34 PM

  10. Well said.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 7, 2013 2:33:05 PM

  11. I would love to see Russia made to "feel" the world's disgust. I agree that snatching the Winter Olympics away is just about the only way to do it. But I also fear the repercussions to their LGBT citizens. If this law costs Russia the games, which I'm sure would hurt their economy... what will these angry roving bands of thugs do to their LGBT targets once they actually have something to blame on them?

    Posted by: fanboi | Aug 7, 2013 3:02:43 PM

  12. Powerful stuff.

    Posted by: Ben Nevis | Aug 7, 2013 3:16:07 PM

  13. U.S. religious right wing pastors and activists might protest, you are infringing on the "religious rights and freedoms" of Russian Orthodox Christians who support a law which is biblically sound. Christians know that children must be protected from gays and their agenda of homosexual propaganda to recruit them. When recently surveyed 78% of Russians believe that homosexuality is wrong and sinful. won't be long before Pat Robertson and Family Research Council comes out in support.

    Posted by: shanestud | Aug 7, 2013 3:31:10 PM

  14. I don't think the Sochi games will be moved.
    But forcing Russia and the IOC to understand how tarnished the Olympics will become is essential.

    Did you know that Russia is the host of the world's biggest sporting event - the World Cup 2018.

    There is LOADS of time for the governing body of the World Cup to take action in moving the 2018 cup out of Russia.

    Posted by: MaryM | Aug 7, 2013 3:34:18 PM

  15. utah, huh? the irony gods got their giggle of the day.

    Posted by: unokhan | Aug 7, 2013 4:03:57 PM

  16. What if they gave the games and no one showed up.that would be the best economic message. They would have encored all the costs and no benefits. So go ahead a put on, I'm not going.

    Posted by: bructer | Aug 7, 2013 4:25:00 PM

  17. Anti-gay animus thinly veiled as legislation for 'protecting children' used to gin up the vote of religious fundamentalists. Take a marginalized group in society and blame them for any and all ills from economic decline to the end's times and use the hostility created to secure political power. It's a formula that has been used multiple times throughout history. The unholy alliance of Putin and the rabidly anti-gay Orthodox Church. This is Putin's Russia.

    Sound familiar? It should, it's the same formula used here in the US by Rove, Mehlman & smarmy Ralph Reed with the GOP. Anti-gay animus marketed as 'family values' has been a major platform plank of the Republican Party for two decades. In the 2012 Presidential race Romney fully endorsed the GOP platform for a constitutional ban of LGBT marriage equality. Stop and think about that for a minute. Here we are asking the world to condemn Russia for it's anti-gay laws while the opposition party of the leader of the free world ran a candidate that supported a constitutional amendment to discriminate against a marginalized segment of it's citizens JUST LAST YEAR. We absolutely have to speak out against atrocities everywhere but must also recognize that we can never become complacent at home.

    In the US we escaped what's now happening to LGBT in Russia by activism, freedom of speech and dissemination of information via the internet. We need to protect these at all costs.

    Wonder why pro LGBT sites are being blocked? Or why the conversation now on the lips of every GOP fanatic and it's affiliated hate groups is about 'religious liberties' being threatened by LGBT equality? Sounds ridiculous doesn't it? But then you find that in addition to passage of anti-gay laws Putin's Russia also has a new law that criminalizes speech considered offensive against religion. Connect the dots.

    Stay vigilant. Share information. Vote.
    EVERY election from local to national counts.

    Posted by: JONES | Aug 7, 2013 7:30:32 PM

  18. I'm not sure comparing Putin to Hitler on this issue is justified: while Putin signed the law, I couldn't find any indication of him doing anything else, nor even of him pushing for the law to be passed. It's possible that he simply figured that not-signing it would cause him some political grief given the level of homophobia in Russia and cravenly looked after himself. That's not particularly admirable, but it isn't in the same league as Hitler, who actively pushed for anti-semitic policies.

    If Putin actually pushed for the law to be passed, an article about that would be useful: nothing came up in a quick Google search.

    Posted by: Bill | Aug 7, 2013 7:48:00 PM

  19. Putin is the face of Russia but Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church is the hidden monster. He's a disgusting bit of inhumanity masquerading as a holy man that has been power brokering for decades. The anti-gay legislation and religious defamation laws were his payback for getting Putin elected. Putin holds the reins of power only at Kirill's behest and I'm pretty sure by now Putin has come to understand the monster he's nourished and is in bed with.

    Could easily see Russia becoming the theocracy Kirill envisions and Putin ending up like other deposed despots.

    Posted by: JONES | Aug 7, 2013 8:56:26 PM

  20. I just stumbled on this story on a russian news site.

    Sochi Plans to Kill Stray Animals Ahead of Olympics

    MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) – Sochi authorities have announced plans to exterminate more than 2,000 stray dogs and cats in the city ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, prompting animal rights activists to rally in their defense, RBC Daily said on its website on Wednesday.

    According to the official Russian website for public tenders, the city administration of Sochi is prepared to pay more than 1.7 million rubles (about $54,000) for “work to catch and dispose of” more than 2,000 dogs and cats from 2013-2015. (more on this story at the site)

    They also plan on hiring 300 "Cossacks" to help with "policing".

    KRASNODAR, July 19 (RIA Novosti) - About 300 Cossack volunteers will help enforce law and order during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, a regional official said Friday.
    Krasnodar Territory, where Sochi is located, was the first to set up official Cossack squads last September. About 1,300 Cossacks currently help law enforcement.

    The Cossacks, who originally hailed from the southern border areas of Russia and are known for their social conservatism, were used to ruthlessly quell popular rebellion in tsarist times and were repressed under the Soviets.

    They are currently regaining a semi-official role in Russian public life and sometimes carry out self-appointed vigilante police duties which are now becoming officially authorized in some places in Russia, including Moscow. (story on same site)

    Unbelievable. This is how barbaric they are, and how concerned they are about the image Russia will play in the Olympics.

    If you had any interest in going to Stochi, don't.

    Economically boycott all things Russian or "promoting" Russian... because isn't it all for protecting the "children".

    Posted by: Will | Aug 7, 2013 9:43:07 PM

  21. Hitler scapegoated gay men during the holocaust too..

    Posted by: JMC | Aug 7, 2013 11:13:22 PM

  22. Another "faded" stating the obvious...

    Posted by: Alan Brickman | Aug 8, 2013 11:11:29 AM

  23. If the Olympics are held in Russia, I will make note of the TV advertisers and not buy anything from any of them for the four years up to the next Olympics.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Aug 9, 2013 8:31:43 PM

  24. Better up your meds. Hitler isn't repeating himself, but it sure sells doesn't it?

    Posted by: Jake | Aug 18, 2013 12:21:10 AM

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