A gay man is speaking out after allegedly being fired from global drug company Pfizer for participating in a protest against Russia’s homophobic laws.
Vadim Gruzdev, who allegedly worked for the US pharmaceutical giant for several years in its Russian branch in Moscow, is now calling for his position to be reinstated.
He was one of the three men who were sentenced to 10 days in police cells after holding a brief protest. Driving a quad bike, they waved rainbow flags and released orange smoke while calling for an end to homophobia and fascism. Despite 30 homophobic thugs throwing glass bottles, eggs and stones at them, the gay men were the only ones to serve time.
Following his release, Gruzdev was reportedly informed his contract would not be renewed after it expired in August. This was due to ‘unethical and illegal conduct’.
‘I took part in Moscow Pride out of my own free will because I believe homophobia and discrimination has flourished in Russia, and it is ultimately contrary to its civilized norms and values,’ Gruzdev said in an open letter.
‘I am confident Pfizer should adhere to the civilized norms and values of a democratic state like the US.’
In a letter directed to the head of the Russian branch Danil Blinov and Pfizer CEO Ian Read, Gruzdev added:
‘Due to the fact that our arrest was illegal, and the case is to be referred to the European Court of Human Rights, I appeal to you to analyze the situation and restore me to the workplace in the triumph of the principles of justice.’
LGBTI activists have now started a campaign calling for a global boycott of Pfizer, who sells such products like cholesterol-lowering Lipitor, anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex and Viagra.
Blinov has reportedly informed LGBTI activists that he is ‘dealing with this incident as best as [he] can’.
When contacted by Gay Star News, a Pfizer spokesperson has claimed that, according to company records, Gruzdev has never been an employee.
They added: ‘Pfizer has clear policies on diversity and inclusion and is committed to the principle of equality. Our aim is to provide equal opportunities by having a working environment free from unlawful discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation on the grounds of accepted protected characteristics, including race, gender, religion and sexual orientation.’