Must-see video: Gay reporter hijacks Russia Today TV interview to protest anti-gay law

I’m not a big fan of conservative gay writer Jamie Kirchick – who in a column once misattributed a “feeling” to me that he somehow gleaned over the telephone during an interview, then refused to correct his error – but this rocks.  Kirchick was invited on Russia Today – possibly the Kremlin’s most virulently anti-American propaganda network – to talk about the Bradley Manning verdict (Manning just got 35 years).

When they turned to Kirchick, hoping to get an American who would criticize America on Kremlin TV, Kirchick instead slipped on a pair of rainbow suspenders (which are now illegal in Russia) and started criticizing Russia’s draconian new anti-gay/anti-trans law.

UPDATE:
Russia Today TV, a propaganda mouthpiece of the Kremlin, reportedly told a Stockholm cab company to drop gay reporter Jamie Kirchick along the highway, in the middle of nowhere-Sweden, as retaliation for Kirchick using his appearance on the network to criticize President Putin’s draconian crackdown on gay and trans Russians.
_______

gay-reporter-russia-todayKirchick started by calling Russia Today (also known cryptically as RT, lest anyone realize they’re actually just Russian propagandists) a “Kremlin-funded propaganda network.”

It got better from there. As he slipped on a pair of rainbow suspenders while on live TV, Kirchick said:

“Being here on a Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I’m going to wear my gay pride suspenders and speak out about the horrifically anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin signed into law.”

Wow, actual news on RT. Whodathunkit?

Kirchick went on for an other two minutes while the hosts, ineffectively, tried desperately to change the topic.

Jamie, you still seriously tick me off.  But you done good.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Kyle Mark Waal

    That’s weird… I used to watch RT America all the time – the Alyona show and Thom Hartmann in particular (Alyona’s on Huff Post TV now) – Both shows were EXTREMELY progressive for American media (I’m an Anarcho-Commie, so it was still to the right of me – But certainly to the left of say MSNBC or CNN) – They were certainly in favour of gay marriage/gay rights in general…. Is RT America different from the original RT? I’m pretty shocked to see this…

  • BenGH

    I think only in a hateful person’s mind does holding your partner’s hand or being a straight person that says being gay is not wrong becomes a “sexual street show” or parading their sexual life. These are the “propaganda” that Russians seek to supposedly protect their children from. Also back in the day “homosexuals” (this clinical and pathologizing term is not favored today) did not live like everyone else. Everyone else could live open lives and could be open about their relationships. Nearly every LGBT person was in the closet. That you make statements like “there has never been ANY homophobia around,” when even still today in the US you can be fired or kicked out of a rented home and not so long ago be put in prison in the US for being gay (in too many countries you can be executed for being gay) shows either a great amount of denial or a complete lack of honesty.

  • Twisk

    Look, I am not young. I have always lived and worked with homosexual people and there has never been ANY homophobia around. We simply worked together and liked each other. That was way before the “Gay Prides”. Homosexuals just lived like anyone else, and I have never seen one claim he needed a “Pride” to assert his self-confidence or whatever… my guess is they would have called it BS anyway (and no, they were not self-haters, just people who did not parade their sexual life any more than your run-of-the-mill heterosexual does). They would have said, why makes heaps and tons of being homosexual? So, maybe if the Russian law says no sexual street show should be allowed, then no sexual street show is in line, period. Is a sexual show SO important?

    That said, I DO strongly disagree on beating or arresting anyone who has done nothing wrong. Not wanting sex thrown in the face of youths is one thing, beating people up is entirely something else.

  • goulo

    “Propaganda” is quite nebulous and subjective – a bad thing, subject to arbitrary interpretation by unsympathetic police and judges. Merely talking about being gay without showing shame/apology about it IS communicating that you think there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality.

    I rather doubt I could prove it to your satisfaction if you yourself are not already convinced by photos and articles you have surely seen.

    E.g. (easily found by a moment’s googling):
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/06/29/gay_pride_st_petersburg_rally_ends_in_arrests_over_gay_propoganda_law.html

    I can mention that I personally am acquainted with a Russian who was at a gay rights march a few years ago where she personally experienced police brutality and being arrested (not merely “fined” – and this was a few years BEFORE the new stricter laws and even more gay-hating climate!) But I suppose you’ll say I’m just lying to you, or that she was just lying to me.

    I can also mention that I personally know an otherwise cultured educated Russian who directly told me that if he saw gay people being beaten up (by hooligans or by police), he would not intervene because “they deserve” such violence, and he thought he was being magnanimous by allowing as how at least he personally wouldn’t join in on the beating.

  • Twisk

    Yes, I am seriously saying I disbelieve anything that’s not proven, so give me a proof. And you can mention you are homosexual in Russia. What you cannot do is tell a minor (that would be anybody under 18 years old) that homosexuality is a good thing, etc. PROPAGANDA TO MINORS is forbidden, not telling people you are homosexual.

  • goulo

    Are you seriously saying you disbelieve all the reports over the past few years of police violence against gay people? Regardless of what the law technically SAYS, the PRACTICE is clearly worse than what is being claimed.

    Besides, even if it’s “only” being forced to merely “pay a fine” for daring to publicly mention that you are gay, or to state that you think gay people are just as good as straight people, or to wear a rainbow insignia, that’s already hatefully extremist, not “minimal”.

  • Badgerite

    That was delicious. Enjoyed their discomfort enormously.

  • DCM70508

    I’m surprised the TV hosts allowed him to speak so long. Good for him. You might want to read about another protest statement in the article called “German Writer Joins Artists? Boycott of Russia” at http://humanrightsarenotagame.org/german-writer-joins-artists-boycott-of-russia-report/.

    Check out my new website covering anti-gay laws in Russia called “Human Rights Are Not a Game” at http://humanrightsarenotagame.org/ All posts are directly from Russian news outlets and have been translated into English.

  • Abcd

    Wow, thats news ;)

  • Twisk

    What is your evidence they are “presenting it as minimal”? That’s what I have heard everywhere: that they’ve outlawed homosexual propaganda to minors, nothing more, and that violators are fined. Do you have actual proof it is worse than that? I mean REAL proof, not spook stories made up by LGBT associations?

  • Jose Soto

    I kind of remember a few videos from RT when they cover gay issues OUTSIDE of russia. They would challenge homophobes etc, this one host did, however, sort of ask a Russian politician why even bother with this law back when they were voting on it. But I didn’t take down the link because I never thought then that RT would be an issue in the future.

    Since this has landed on their doorstep they have forgotten to be journalists and get to the facts and are just peddling this law to save their asses, and their jobs. By all means, I do not support what RT is doing right now. But it was surprising to me that they would flip like this, but like I said, they are saving their behinds. I was their subscriber on YouTube, usually I would watch them for all my international news, especially what is going on in the middle east. Well, after today I have unsubscribed.

  • Jose Soto

    Well RT has been trying to defend Russia via the anti-gay law lately. Although at the same time they have had overtones of “well the law is really not anti-gay, so what’s all the fuss? We love gays, they just need to shut up” while reporting on this. Overall though they stink and they should stop trying to defend this law. RIA is surely a good source and has in-depth coverage. RIA, though, does vouch a lot for the Kremlin on other matters and it did root for Putin during the elections.

  • vonlmo

    Perhaps Mr Kirchick will have his own “Come To Jesus” moment, as Andrew Sullivan did a few years back. Meantime I’m hoping to see more reportage by that intrepid conservative gay journalist Jeff Gannon now that he is no longer cruising the corridors of the White House.

  • FLL

    Whether Kirchick was outside Russia when he was speaking. He was in Sweden, which is a good thing because he would have been arrested if he had been in Russia.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You just can’t help yourself from peeing in the pool.

  • ben

    What were you asking again? I missed it, must have been chewing.

  • Betty McG

    A reporter from Radio Free Europe interviewed him at the airport. He told her the cab driver received a phone call from his boss and that the cab ride had been canceled. RT had agreed to pay transportation as part of his contract but apparently decided they wanted him left on the side of the road to the airport. Kirchick told the driver he would pay for the ride but when he tried to pay the driver at the airport the driver wouldn’t charge him. I noticed in the comments that a few people aren’t fans of his but are enjoying what he did on RT.

  • Anonymous

    I also like how they focus on laws affecting “minorities” only when Christians are that minority.

  • TJ

    Just thinking about those (on the right) that claim we need to respect other countries’ laws and not be critical of Russia for their anti-gay laws. Do they say the same thing when Christians are imprisoned in Islamic countries for proselytizing? I think they’re the first to claim the laws are wrong.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    That’s unconscionable. Wow. Talk about a total d-bag move on the part of RT.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis
  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Not really – RIA’s print coverage has been beyond amazing on all of this. RT less so. And they’re TV coverage is purely anti-American,

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Was in sweden

  • goulo

    I’d not heard that “RT is pretty pro-gay” before, so I googled and immediately found these 2 links which make a pretty convincing case that RT is not pro-gay but rather supporting the anti-gay laws and trying to present them as very reasonable and minimal and just to “protect the children”:

    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/08/21/2505051/5-ways-russia-today-anti-gay/
    http://www.towleroad.com/2013/08/rt.html

    Do you have some links to RT being pro-gay? I’m open to counter-evidence.

  • cole3244

    i’m not familiar with kirchick but from the responses it sounds like other than being outraged by the gay violence (personal) in russia he sounds like just another con that i would disagree with on most issues.
    consistency would be nice jamie if you would.

  • nicho

    St. Julian Assange? Not a bad idea. Certainly better than that fascist old fraud John Paul II.

  • BrandySpears

    Bravo! I doubt he’ll be invited on the St. Julian Assange Show on RT now.
    How many times has Glenn Greenwald been on RT recently?

  • FLL

    I was asking because if he were in Russia at the time, he could have been arrested.

  • StraightGrandmother

    I never heard of this guy but I LOVE HIM!!!
    YES!!! Our message IS getting delivered.
    They will not remain immune from their vicious Human Rights Violations.

  • nicho

    Well, if he hadn’t been in the same room, they could have simply switched off the feed from his location. No?

  • nicho

    Jamie is an enabler of anti-gay forces. I have no sympathy when he feels it bites him in the ass.

  • FLL

    Kirchick was on a separate screen when he was speaking to the hosts of Russia Today; he was not in the same room with them. Just to be sure about this, Kirchick was not in Russia when he was speaking; he was in some other country, correct?

  • nicho

    Oooooh, the world’s most reliable web site.

  • DrDignity

    Bravo, Jamie! The talking head almost exploded!

  • voltronforce

    Its on the drudge report now

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Does bf know something, or just joking?

  • Jose Soto

    RT is pretty pro-gay and they have criticized the anti-gay law several times. RIA is actually the paid propagandist for the Kremlin.

  • JK

    The same vile sycophantic Kirchick that repeatedly attacks Bradley Manning, who is gay and possibly trans, with no concern about his homophobic treatment in the military. RT is an outlet set out to criticize the US, but I can’t stand this guy. The LGBT on the whole in the US have also actively ignored (and often maligned) Manning.

    Considering Kirchick’s pattern of critical remarks about Manning, it’s actually curious that RT would have him on to discuss the case.

  • voltronforce

    My bf says the reporter was fired, driven to the airport and given a paid ticket to stockholm.

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