American journalist Jamie Kirchick was brought on as a guest on Russian network RT to offer his opinion abut the Bradley Manning trial. Instead, the reporter used his time on the air to slam the network about Russia's anti-gay laws recently signed into law by Vladimir Putin. As Politico reports on August 21, Kirchick was kicked off the show for expressing his views.
Kirchick, dressed in rainbow suspenders, showcased his pride as a gay man and then immediately went off on the anti-gay laws and how Russia is treating their LGBT community.
"Being here on a Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I'm going to wear my gay pride suspenders and speak out against the horrific, anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin has signed into law, that was passed unanimously by the [Russian] Duma, that criminalize homosexual propaganda, effectively makes it illegal to talk about homosexuality in public; we've seen a spate of violent attacks."
Kirchick made a statement just by bringing up the topic of homosexuality as the anti-gay bill bans any promotion of gay rights and any expression that can be defined as "gay propaganda". The law has been a focal point for gay rights activists around the world and also athletes who plan to participate in the 2104 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Kirchick, however, wasn't done. He went after the Russian journalists for not paying attention to the issues surrounding gay rights.
"I don't know as a journalists how you can go to sleep at night seeing what happens to journalists in Russia who are routinely harassed, tortured, how you can yourself a journalist, I find that abominable; you should be ashamed of yourself. Everyone who works at this network should be ashamed at yourself."
Kirchick's outburst took the network by surprise but it is no surprise that he was kicked off since the RT is a nonprofit website and cable news channel funded by the Russian government. He certainly picked the right airwaves to make a statement.
The RT host said after Kirchick was kicked off the air, that he failed to discuss the topic at hand, which was the Bradley Manning sentences. Manning also happens to be gay, so perhaps Kirchick wasn't as off-topic as they thought.