A Russian television network kicked reporter James Kirchick off the air Wednesday for using this live TV moment for to criticize the country’s new anti-gay laws.
The American journalist was booked on RT, a government-funded station, to talk about the Bradley Manning verdict and sentencing. Instead, he hijacked the segment to speak out against the increasing climate of violence against homosexuals and LGBT supporters.
“Being here in a Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I’m going to wear my gay pride suspenders, and I am going to speak out against the horrific anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin has signed into law. That was passed unanimously by the Russian Duma. That criminalizes homosexual propaganda, that effectively makes it illegal to talk about homosexuality in public,” he began.
The anchorwoman tried to get the conversation back on topic, saying, “Of course, we’ll discuss it later, but what about Bradley Manning first?”
“I’m not really interested in talking about Bradley Manning,” Kirchick said. “I’m interested in talking about the horrific environment of homophobia in Russia right now and, and to let the Russian gay people know they have friends and allies and solidarity from people all over the world and that we’re not going to be silenced in the face of this horrific oppression” by their “pay masters” and “by Vladimir Putin.”
He continued, “How you can call yourself a journalist and how you can go to sleep at night? I find that abominable. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
The female anchor responded, “You have to come over here and see for yourself.”
Shortly after his appearance, an RT host issued an explanation of why they dropped Kirchick. According to Politico, the host later said, “We invited a guest on to discuss the fate of the whistle-blower, 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.”