Stephen Fry calls for Russia to be stripped of Winter Olympics over anti-gay laws

Wednesday 07 August 2013 23.27
1 of 2
Stephen Fry compared Vladimir Putin  to Adolf Hitler
Stephen Fry compared Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler
Gay rights activists embrace each other after clashes with anti-gay demonstrators during a gay pride event in St Petersburg in June
Gay rights activists embrace each other after clashes with anti-gay demonstrators during a gay pride event in St Petersburg in June

British actor Stephen Fry has urged Prime Minister David Cameron to support moves to strip Russia of the 2014 Winter Olympics over concerns about anti-gay laws passed in the country.

The broadcaster compared the situation to the decision to hold the 1936 games in Nazi Germany and said President Vladimir Putin "is making scapegoats of gay people".

He said: "An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi is simply essential. Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillehammer, anywhere you like.

"At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world."

In the letter, which was also sent to London 2012 supremo Lord Coe and the International Olympic Committee, Mr Fry said: "The Summer Olympics of 2012 were one of the most glorious moments of my life and the life of my country.

"For there to be a Russian Winter Olympics would stain the movement forever and wipe away any of that glory."

Addressing Mr Cameron directly, Mr Fry said he was "a man for whom I have the utmost respect".

He added: "As the leader of a party I have for almost all of my life opposed and instinctively disliked, you showed a determined, passionate and clearly honest commitment to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights and helped pushed gay marriage through both houses of our parliament in the teeth of vehement opposition from so many of your own side.

"For that I will always admire you, whatever other differences may lie between us. In the end I believe you know when a thing is wrong or right. Please act on that instinct now."

It comes after politicians in Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, passed a law imposing heavy fines for providing information about homosexuality to people under 18.

Last month, the IOC said it would "work to ensure that the Games can take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and the media".

It said: "To that end, the IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games."