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Wentworth Miller: ‘As a Gay Man I Must Decline’ Russian Invite

Wentworth Miller: ‘As a Gay Man I Must Decline’ Russian Invite

Prison Break star Wentworth Miller, in an extraordinary open letter, has declined an invite to attend a Russian film festival, citing Russia’s devolving gay rights situation and for the first time publicly confirming his sexuality.

Miller had been invited to the St. Petersburg International Film Festival but, in a letter that was also posted on the GLAAD website, has now declined saying that he is “deeply troubled” by Russia’s treatment of gay men and women:

Dear Ms. Averbakh:

Thank you for your kind invitation. As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes.

However, as a gay man, I must decline.

I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government. The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.

Perhaps, when and if circumstances improve, I’ll be free to make a different choice.

Until then.

Wentworth Miller

Member, HRC
Member, GLAAD
Member, The ManKind Project

During his time in the hit show Prison Break, Miller had previously reportedly denied being gay and had reportedly talked about wanting to settle down with a woman.

Regardless, his coming out at the age of 41 and the manner in which it was done has been seen as a powerful statement of advocacy and a message of solidarity to LGBT Russians.

“Wentworth’s bold show of support sends a powerful message to LGBT Russians, who are facing extreme violence and persecution: you are not alone,” said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz.” As people from across the globe continue to speak out against Russia’s horrific law, more celebrities and corporations should follow his courageous lead in openly condemning Russia’s anti-LGBT law.”

This show of support for Russia’s LGBT population comes during a week where more stories of violence have emerged even while Russian officials continue to deny the country is targeting gay people.

In a letter sent to the Olympic governing body, the IOC, concerning the Russian city of Sochi hosting the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, Russian officials stated that sexual orientation is protected under the law and that the so-called national “propaganda ban” does not target gay people but rather those attempting to spread “non-traditional sexuality.”

Despite vast evidence to the contrary, the IOC appears satisfied that Russia’s laws do comply with the Olympic Charter:

“We have today received strong written reassurances from the Russian government that everyone will be welcome at the Games in Sochi regardless of their sexual orientation,” IOC President Jacques Rogge is quoted as saying. “In his letter Deputy Prime Minister (Dmitry) Kozak underlines that ‘Russia has committed itself to comply strictly with the provisions of the Olympic Charter and its fundamental principles, according to item 6 of which “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.’”

To be clear, the letter does not clarify whether LGBT athletes will be prosecuted should they flout the propaganda ban and, with no evidence to the contrary, we must assume based on previous statements made by Russian officials that they will be — something that is still in violation of the Olympic Charter.

Given that more and more evidence is emerging of Neo-Nazi groups in Russia specifically targeting gay and trans people, and most significantly with no evidence of laws forbidding such attacks being properly enforced, the IOC will have to do more than cite Russian assurances in order to assuage criticism that Sochi should never have been chosen as the venue for the Winter Olympics.

Meanwhile, calls to boycott the games or for athletes to otherwise flout Russia’s propaganda law continue to grow.

A number of rights groups and concerned organizations have in recent days increased their calls that government officials explicitly denounce Russia’s anti-LGBT onslaught. Some officials are, fortunately, doing just that with Australian Senator Bob Carr telling Gay Star News “The Australian Embassy in Moscow has made repeated representations condemning this legislation,” and that Australia “believes that human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent.”

Still, many nations’ leaders have yet to even recognize the issue of Russia’s eroding human rights landscape, something that may be politically convenient but lends tacit support to the anti-LGBT oppression currently seen within Russia’s borders.

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Image credit: icefeel.

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90 comments

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7:13PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013

Good on him!

11:01AM PDT on Sep 2, 2013

way to go Wentworth Miller!!

11:01AM PDT on Aug 26, 2013

Everyone else invited should do the same.

9:20AM PDT on Aug 26, 2013

This law in Russia is to save those homosexuals -who please themselves to show off their sexually confused personalities- from those other Russians who will, on sight, beat them up and get away with it.. it is a question of safety for every one and security measures have been in place in all other Olympic events.. so what's the fuzz about..?? - Miller is opting not to go to Russia to save his skin.. fine, good for him, perfect.-
Another problem which many choose to ignore is that of terrorists which is omnipresent nowadays.. because some are not able to get the big picture and understand the actual situation with our societies many will ignore the law in Russia and get into trouble making things worse for everyone.. I pity them.. others will boycott the games as a futile attempt to prove that Russia is wrong.. I pity them for not understanding and being self centered, selfish and childish adults with very poor discernment concerning what and why the Russians are doing what they are doing to make the Sochi games safe and secure..
This world is full of free idiots is a fact..

1:52AM PDT on Aug 26, 2013

IT'S OFFICIAL -
President Vladimir Putin signed an official decree, published in the official government newspaper, that will ban all “gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, marches, and pickets” that aren’t a part of Olympic ceremonies from January 7, a month before the Olympics begin, until March 21, a month and a half after they end.

Read more at this News to Note:

http://www.care2.com/news/member/911530155/3632568

1:44AM PDT on Aug 26, 2013

Russia has officially outlawed all forms of protest for more than two months around the 2014 Winter Olympics, which begin in less than six months in Sochi. President Vladimir Putin signed an official decree, published in the official government newspaper, that will ban all “gatherings, rallies, demonstrations, marches, and pickets” that aren’t a part of Olympic ceremonies from January 7, a month before the Olympics begin, until March 21, a month and a half after they end.
The protest ban’s most obvious effect will be to silence criticism on the Russian anti-gay law that bans “homosexual propaganda.” The law sparked a rash of criticism from world leaders like President Obama, LGBT activists, and athletes from around the world. The International Olympic Committee’s lack of decisive action and the Russian government’s insistence that it will enforce the law during the Games was likely to draw even more criticism and potential protests during the Olympics.

8:34PM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

Trump: Pull the Miss Universe Pageant out of Russia

http://www.care2.com/news/member/911530155/3632413

Note the News Item and Sign the Care2 Petition.

[Some of the biggest fans of the Miss Universe Pageant, are LGBT people!]
Trump is so disgusting anyway... not surprised he wouldn't think twice about this.
Let's SHAKE DONALD TRUMP OUT OF HIS COMPLACENCY!
Trump and Putin... what a PAIR!

8:26PM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

Russia has passed severe and repressive anti-Gay legislation.
This legislation applies to visitors and foreigners, just as much as to Russian citizens.
You can BE Gay - but, just don't say you are proud or happy you are!
In other words, ALL GAYS STAY DEEPLY IN THE CLOSET. Both Russians, and foreigners.
And, Gay ALLIES {who may be "straight"!}, can't say a word about it, either!
As a direct result of this legislation -
Gay tourists {who presumably refused to stay in their Closets}, have been expelled from the country.
Allies such as Pussy Riot members, have been arrested and sent to Work Camps.
And, Thugs on Russian streets have been ENCOURAGED TO BEAT UP GAYS, while the Russian Police just look on and smile! And still worse has happened...
And you can believe IT WILL GET STILL WORSE, there will be MORE BEATINGS, TORTURES AND MURDERS....
What we CAN do: like Wentworth, BOYCOTT RUSSIAN FILM FESTIVALS, INTERNATIONAL EVENTS {like the MissUniversePageant} ON RUSSIAN SOIL, RUSSIAN PRODUCTS SUCH AS RUSSIAN-MADE VODKA, RUSSIAN TOURISM...

8:11PM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

I bet Wentworth has seen these pictures, or ones like them.....

36 Photos from Russia that everyone needs to see.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/photos-from-russia-everyone-needs-to-see

There is blood....
EVERYONE needs to see. Please circulate.

8:06PM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

Russian filmmakers, like all other Russians, aren't allowed to say anything GOOD about anything Gay.
Just as all visitors to Russia, are LIKEWISE BOUND by the laws, not to say anything GOOD about being Gay, as that would be labeled "Propaganda" and "hurtful to children" -
I am sure that the Russians would now CENSOR any films saying any such thing, and not allow them to be shown in Russia.
For these reasons, I think any Film Festival in St. Petersburg, would be basically uninteresting, un-representative and WORTHLESS to go to.
[Furthermore, I have heard that - as one might expect! - the main Russian filmmaker today, is a violent Homophobe.]
For these reasons, and for the anti-Gay legislation, not to mention the kidnapping, torture and MURDER of Gay and Trans people -
Russian Film Festivals should ALL BE BOYCOTTED, by ALL countries - as should ALL recent films from Russia; and ALL Travel and Tourism to Russia.
This is NO DIFFERENT from the very beginnings of Nazi Germany's war against the Jews... NOW the Nations need to TAKE ACTION.... Russia, and Putin, are just jerking us around...

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