A Russian TV host has caused outrage after he has blamed falling meteorites on LGBTI people.
Arkady Mamontov, a pundit on state channel Rossiya 1, has warned Russia must respect ‘traditional love’ or face the consequences.
He named the Chelyabinsk meteorite, which fell in south-west Russia on 15 February and injured 1,491 people including 311 children, in his warning.
Mamontov was asked on politics show Special Correspondent to discuss new documentary film ‘Litsedei’, translated in English as ‘Hypocrites’.
The filmmakers claim Western countries are organizing a ‘gay revolution’ in Russia based on ‘alleged claims homosexuals are oppressed’.
Mamontov said: ‘We should keep the family tradition, traditional love, or else something else – not only the Chelyabinsk meteorite – will hit us.’
The Russian LGBT Network and gay group Exit has urged the authorities to take action against Mamontov, saying the program was clearly aimed to ‘stir up hatred on the grounds of belonging to the LGBT community.’
In a statement on the website of the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights, top lawyer and trans activist Masha Bast accused the show of discussing a fascist propaganda film as if it was an unbiased documentary.
Bast, who appears in the film, also accused the makers of slander and misrepresentation.
‘The international community must respond to the persecution of LGBT people in Russia, the hypocritical position of the head of state, the Olympic Games held in Sochi. Any support for Russian LGBTs is welcome,’ she said.
Nikolai Alekseev, one of Russia’s most prominent LGBT activists and lawyers, claims he was interviewed for two hours for the programme, but none of it was aired.
He accused Mamontov of hate speech and inciting violence, saying the discussion was clearly ‘insulting a huge number of Russian citizens’ and was ‘pumping hatred and hosility towards gays.’
‘The Moscow authorites may refuse to arrest Mamontov on the basis of the federal law banning gay propaganda,’ Alekseev said.
‘Then it becomes clear that such a law was put in place to gag a particular group of citizens, not to protect children.’