TORONTO — British actor Stephen Fry is calling for the Winter Olympics to be pulled from Russia in protest of the Putin government’s crackdown on gays and lesbians.
“At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world,” Fry wrote in an open letter to British prime minister David Cameron and members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The 55-year-old Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows star, who is openly gay, said the Games could be moved to any of the countries that have hosted them in the past.
“It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village. The IOC absolutely must take a firm stance on behalf of the shared humanity it is supposed to represent against the barbaric, fascist law that Putin has pushed through the Duma,” he said.
“The idea that sport and politics don’t connect is worse than disingenuous, worse than stupid. It is wickedly, wilfully wrong.”
Fry said if the Winter Olympics are held in Sochi next year, “the Five Rings would finally be forever smeared, besmirched and ruined in the eyes of the civilised world,” and he urged the IOC to be “brave enough to live up to the oaths and protocols of your movement.”
Last month, Tony-winning actor Harvey Fierstein also suggested moving or boycotting the Winter Olympics.
“Putin is a rat and you have to starve him out,” he told MSNBC. “Don’t put billions of the world’s money into Russia for the Olympics. Take the Olympics somewhere else.”
In an article published in The Hollywood Reporter, Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk) called on the show business community to use its clout to fight Putin.
“Most shocking to me is that Hollywood might continue to produce and premiere major motion pictures in Russia without doing its part to make sure this abuse is stopped,” he wrote.
“Truth is, there is virtually no other industry that can make a greater impact than ours.”
British actress Tilda Swinton protested Russia’s new anti-gay laws by distributing a photograph showing her holding a rainbow flag — the symbol of gay freedom and equality — in front of the Kremlin.
It came with the message: “In solidarity. From Russia with love.”