Stephen Fry calls for Russia Olympics ban in open letter to the PM
In an open letter to prime minister, David Cameron, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), British broadcaster and comedian, Stephen Fry, has urged them to support a ban on the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
In his letter, Mr Fry stated that Russian president “Vladimir Putin is making scapegoats of gay people just as Hitler did with Jews,” and compared the situation to the decision to hold the 1936 games in Nazi Germany.
He added: “Putin is eerily repeating this insane crime, only this time against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) Russians. Beatings, murders and humiliations are ignored by the police. Any defence or sane discussion of homosexuality is against the law.”
Mr Fry made a direct appeal to the prime minister and mentioned that he has the “utmost respect” for Mr Cameron and urged him to act on his instinct.
In his appeal, the comedian also said the “London 2012 Olympics were one of the most glorious moments of my life and the life of my country. For there to be a Russian Winter Olympics would stain the movement forever and wipe away any of that glory.”
Commenting on Stephen Fry’s letter, a government spokeswoman said: “Mr Cameron outlined concerns about the growing restrictions on LGBT freedoms in Russia to Mr Putin at a meeting in Downing Street in June and that the government is working closely with the IOC and British Olympic Association (BOA) to ensure that the games take place in the spirit of the Olympic Charter and are free from discrimination.”
The IOC said in a statement that 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.”
In June, Russia passed a law imposing heavy fines for providing information about homosexuality to under 18s. The law has been criticised by many politicians and human rights groups and raised concerns that visiting gay athletes and spectators could face discrimination or even legal action.
The US president, Barack Obama, spoke against the legislation on NBC’s Jay Leno’s show on Tuesday. He said: “I have no patience for countries that try to treat gay or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”