A US reporter invited onto Russian state-funded TV to talk about Bradley Manning who used his time to speak out against the repression of LGBT people in the country was cut off by the host, but not before saying “we’re not going to be silent of horrific repression”.
Describing the RT channel (formerly Russia Today), as the “Kremlin funded propaganda network”, James Kirchick pulls up rainbow braces and refuses to speak about Bradley Manning, instead speaking out against anti-gay laws passed in June by the Russian State Duma.
As the host attempts to steer him back to discuss Bradley Manning, Kirchick says he wants Russian LGBT people to know that “they have allies all over the world, and that we’re not going to be silent in the face of this horriffic repression that is perpetrated by your paymaster, by Vladimir Putin.
“I don’t know as a journalist how you can go to sleep at night, seeing what happens to journalists in Russia, who are routinely harassed, tortured and sometimes killed by the Russian Government.”
The anchor then says: “You need to come over and see for yourself”.
Later in the program, one of the hosts said: “A quick explanation now for the beginning of our coverage of the Bradley Manning sentences. We invited a guest on to discuss the fate of the whistleblower, but he used the chance to discuss his views on other unrelated issues and that’s why we had to take him off air. We would like to say sorry for any confusion caused.”
Speaking on the “Spate of violent attacks” against LGBT people, Kirchick then says: “I am going to take my two minutes here to tell people the truth”.
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 Games. Others have also called to boycott Russian vodka as a form of protest.