A gay Russian television presenter has said he was sacked the same evening as he came out live on air.
Anton Krasovsky, 37, who was editor-in-chief at the station came out on the KontrTV network, which he helped to set up, and which was backed by the Kremlin.
In the original announcement, the footage of which has now been removed from the network’s website and YouTube channel, he said: “‘I’m gay, and I’m just the same person as you, my dear audience, as President Putin, as Prime Minister Medvedev and the deputies of our Duma.”
Then speaking to CNN in a more recent interview, he said he had been sacked the very same evening, and also that he did not know who was behind the decision to remove the footage from the internet.
Speaking to the Independent, the currently unemployed broadcaster has since said: “I have made a lot of money in television and I understood that I’d lose everything,
“But I also understood that I couldn’t do anything else. I didn’t do it so that I would get hundreds of likes on my Facebook page. I did it because I wanted them to hear it in the Kremlin. And they heard it, and were surprised.”
There is currently an international outcry over the situation in the country, which passed several anti-gay laws back in June, and which has been heavily criticised for the treatment of LGBT people.
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.
The laws have so far sparked controversy among LGBT activists, with some calling for a boycott of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Others have also called to boycott Russian vodka as a form of protest.
In an interview last week, a senior International Olympics Committee member said: “Russia must respect the Olympic Charter, or we will say goodbye to them”, broaching the question of relocating the games with the IOC for the first time.