Invited onto Russian state TV to talk about Bradley Manning’s sentencing, American reporter James Kirchick instead used his on-air time to slam the repression of queer people in Russia.
As an RT host invited Kirchick to weigh in on Manning’s fate, Kirchick pulled up rainbow-coloured suspenders and said he was there to speak out about the “horrific anti-gay legislation” that Vladimir Putin signed into law in June.
As the host tried to steer him back to a discussion about Manning, Kirchick, who described RT as a “Kremlin-funded propaganda network,” said he was not really interested in talking about the Army private sentenced to a 35-year prison term.
He said he wanted to let Russian gay people know that they “have friends and allies and solidarity from people all over the world.”
He added, “We’re not going to be silenced in the face of this horrific repression that is perpetrated by your paymasters, by Vladimir Putin, so that’s what I’m here to talk about.”
He then told the host, “I don’t know how as a journalist 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.”
“James, you have to come over here and see for yourself,” the host countered.
Another RT host told Kirchick that the network had covered the anti-gay laws and said that it had held a panel discussion that featured members of the queer community.
RT cut off Kirchick shortly after. Kirchick later tweeted: "True fact: @RT_com just called taxi company that took me to studio to drop me off on the side of the highway on way to Stockholm airport."
Recently, a former editor-in-chief at KontrTV network, Anton Krasovsky, claimed he was fired the same evening he came out on the air, Pink News reports.
In footage that’s been removed from the network’s website, Krasovsky said that he’s gay and that he’s “the same person as you, my dear audience, as President Putin, as Prime Minister Medvedev and the deputies of our Duma.”
“I didn’t do it so that I would get hundreds of likes on my Facebook page. I did it because I wanted them to hear it in the Kremlin. And they heard it and were surprised,” Krasovsky later told CNN.