Update: 12:50 13/08/13 It has become clear that Dmitriy Kiselyov has had no involvement in the Koktebel Jazz Festival for several years, and the festival has confirmed that it does not share his views.
A Russian TV host has denied homophobia, since he came under heavy criticism after footage emerged during which he said that gay people should not be allowed to donate sperm or blood, and that their hearts should not even be used, as they are “unfit for extending anyone’s life”.
Dmitriy Kiselyov the host of the aptly named Historical Progress programme, spoke on the prime-time show which aired on state-funded Rossiya-1. He has since been promoted to host News of the Week.
In the clip he says: “I think that to fine gays for the propaganda of homosexuality among teenagers is not enough. They should be prohibited from donating blood, sperm. And their hearts—in case of a car accident—should be buried or burned as unfit for extending anyone’s life.”
Speaking to partially state-funded RT, which also last week was accused of attempting to downplay the recently introduced law which bans the “promotion” of homosexuality, Kiselyov said he could not be labelled a homophobe because “he has enough gay friends”.
In the interview, he claimed that he was speaking about legal practices in the Russian Federation, and was referring to international laws.
He said: “This is internationally-recognized practice and I called for nothing unusual. This is a norm in the US, Europe, Japan, in the Arab countries – practically everywhere, but not in Russia.”
Referring to laws in the US, Japan and Europe, he said: “If he [a homosexual] 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.”
He said he thought Russian gay people would also support such laws, saying: “If they are responsible citizens they would support that law, like the American gay people did. I believe Russia’s human rights organizations should lobby for that kind of law, too.”
The report concludes by saying “in Russian cultural tradition a sexual relationship is intimate”, and that he used that basis for opposing “any kind of mass public sexual manifestation”.
He concluded: “I’m strongly against dragging children into homosexual activities. Because according to [Sigmund] Freud any child is bisexual,” Dmitry Kiselev said. “I believe homosexual propaganda in Russia should be banned on that basis.”
Kiselyov also founded the annual Koktebel Jazz Festival, which has been run since 2003 every September. Five British jazz groups are scheduled to perform this year, including Patrick Wolf, who is openly gay.
One act, British Sea Power, tweeted to say it had been assured by the festival that Kiselyov currently has no involvement in the festival, and that it does not share his views. The band said: “We’ve been assured by Koktebel & British Council that he’s not been involved for 7 years& the festival doesn’t support his views.”
President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. Other laws banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples, and one which enables organisations receiving funding from abroad to be fined as “foreign agents”, were also passed.
On Wednesday, author and television presenter Stephen Fry wrote an open letter to David Cameron, International Olympics Committee President Jacques Rogge and Lord Coe, urging for the 2014 Winter Olympics to not take place in Sochi.
In a statement, the IOC said it “respected Mr Fry’s opinion” and the committee was clear that “sport is a human right and should be available to all regardless of race, sex or sexual orientation”.
Speaking at a protest in London on Saturday against the anti-gay laws, Mr Fry told PinkNews that greater pressure needs to be placed on Russia regarding its position on LGBT rights and he’s urging people to “mock” President Vladimir Putin.
A UK Government source also said that they anticipated the issue of homophobic oppression in Russia would be raised at the G20 Heads of Government meeting.
With international interest on the LGBT situation in Russia at an unprecedented level – on Thursday PinkNews published a collection of the most shocking LGBT stories to have come from the country in the past seven years.
Russian partially state-funded news channel RT recently aired a special report on foreign perceptions of recently passed anti-gay laws, which appeared to suggest that the majority of Russian support the laws, and calls US reports on the issue “warped”.