Jewish gay groups back Stephen Fry over Russian anti-gay law

Stephen Fry’s stance has been applauded by Jewish gays and lesbians in the UK

Stephen Fry’s stance has been applauded by Jewish gays and lesbians in the UK

Jewish Gays and lesbians have praised Stephen Fry over his stand against the Russian anti-gay law.

The actor caused controversy when he highlighted the Moscow government’s recent decision to impose heavy fines for anyone providing information about homosexuality to people under 18.

Mr Fry suggested that President Vladimir Putin was “making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews”.

In a letter to the Prime Minister David Cameron and the International Olympics Committee, he called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games which will by hosted by Russia.

The broadcaster accepted that it was unlikely that the Games would be boycotted or moved from Russia, but believed that protests from athletes would show solidarity with gay rights campaigners.

On his website, Mr Fry declared that Hitler “banned Jews from academic tenure or public office, he made sure that the police turned a blind eye to any beatings, thefts or humiliations afflicted on them… Putin is eerily repeating this insane crime, only this time against LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual] Russians.”

He continued: “I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler’s antisemitism. Every time in Russia a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian ‘correctively’ raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.”

The Jewish Gay and Lesbian group, lauded Mr Fry for speaking out. Spokesperson Karen Newman said: “What Stephen Fry is doing is valuble because it draws attention to what is happening in Russia.

“The legislation in itself is of course regrettable, but what makes it worse is the chill effect. It is so much more difficult to be gay and lesbian in countries with legislation like that and the concern is the green light that it gives people to participate in gay-bashing.”

Mr Cameron has thanked Mr Fry for his letter but objected to the boycott. He tweeted: “I believe we can better challenge prejudice as we attend, rather than boycotting the Winter Olympics.”

On August 12 Mr Fry met Mr Cameron in a pub co-owned by actor and gay rights activist Sir Ian McKellen.

“They have a very pleasant discussion,” said one source, “Mr Cameron explained in detail why he thought we should attend the games… Mr Fry asked him how Britain would use its attendance to make the case for gay rights and seemed pleased at the replies he received.”

Last updated: 3:14pm, August 19 2013