MSNBC anchor and newly-hired Miss Universe co-host Thomas Roberts had a chat Friday with pageant owner Donald Trump about the event being held in Russia which has been under fire for its anti-gay laws.
Trump has been outspoken in his opposition to marriage equality in the US but has hired an openly gay man who got married to his longtime partner just last year.
Roberts asked Trump: ‘In offering me this assignment … you are professionally flying in the face of these laws and you are agreeing that LGBT people are integrated and equal members of society, so does that change any of your prior public stances on marriage equality here in the US?’
Trump replied: ‘No it doesn’t change.’
And yet the business magnate and television personality wants to make a statement against Russia’s laws including a broad one of which makes it illegal to publicly support homosexuality.
‘The gay groups in Moscow are loving the fact that we are going over there,’ Trump said. ‘So we can hide, or we can do something about it. So I think that you’re going to do something about it, and I think that I’m going to do something about it.’
Trump also said: ‘We have many people in the pageant system who happen to be gay… and they actually feel very enthused about this because they feel we can make a difference as a group, and individually.’
Roberts said on Thursday (17 October) that he aggressively went after the hosting gig because he sees it as ‘a huge, visible opportunity for LGBT people. Everywhere.’
The previous host, television personality Andy Cohen, declined to return because he said he would not feel safe in Russia as an openly gay man.