Activist Group Heckles Brian Boitano, Demands His Condemnation Of Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws

Brian_Boitano_promo2_s3x4_lgMembers of the queer activist group Queer Nation are claiming responsibility for disrupting an appearance by newly-out Olympian Brian Boitano at a gallery event in New York City last night. According to reports, three protesters heckled Boitano after he was introduced for failing to speak out against anti-gay legislation in Russia.

Boitano recently came out after being appointed to represent the United States as part of an official delegation attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi. As one of three openly gay delegates selected by President Barack Obama, many believe it is his duty to publicly condemn Russia’s laws banning “gay propaganda.”

According to Queer Nation, this is how it all went down:

Brian Boitano was appearing at New York’s Rubin Museum of Art as part of a panel to discuss “how the mind and brain work.” Tim McHenry, the director of public programs and performance at the Rubin, introduced Boitano “with admiration,” calling him “a courageous champion of human rights and artists.”

Apparently this was an appropriate time to interrupt:

“When did he do that and what is it that he said?” shouted Duncan Osborne, one of the protesters. “He’s going to a country with a record of abusing human rights, especially the rights of gay men and women, and he has yet to speak out about it,” Osborne continued.

“Stand up and tell us what you are going to do what are you going to say in Russia,” yelled Jamie Bauer,” the other protester from Queer Nation. Boitano remained seated and silent and refused to acknowledge the protesters.

“Two members of Pussy Riot were imprisoned for protesting their government’s human rights record, and when they were granted amnesty ahead of the Olympics promptly denounced the amnesty and organized a protest,” said Bauer after the protest. “We haven’t seen nearly that kind of courage from Brian Boitano, who has much less to risk.”

Queer Nation’s account also suggests “the audience was uniformly hostile” and many booed. Osborne threatened to have audience members arrested for attempting to remove him, and the group was eventually “led peacefully out of the room by security guards.”

Osborne repeatedly yelled “you’re a coward” on his way out. No video documenting the event is currently available, but if you’d like to see Queer Nation disrupt other panels regarding the 2014 Winter Olympics, you can visit them on Tumblr.

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  • Cam

    Actually Boitano also, when he came out tried to do that “I’m ashamed” excuse of claiming he was so many things, and only one of them was gay.

    Well yeah Brian, but funny how THAT one is the only one that you would never ever speak about.

    I think with Boitano we are witnessing just how homophobic the Olympic community is. It is so bad that he is still afraid to say anything about it years later.

    In Contrast Billie Jean King is basically daring them to arrest her saying she will speak to the press and is commenting publicly on Russia’s laws.

  • oilburner

    Brian Boitano is annoying attention seeking stupid and full of shit.

  • balehead

    Can’t believe I’m saying this…Good for Queer nation!…

  • Cam


    OK, hell just froze over because you and I absolutely agree on something.

  • Nikkidane

    The guy just “came out” so I doubt we can expect him to be an activist. I think he’s still dealing with his own personal homophobia.
    Still, I agree with Queer Nation that he lacks courage and it’s absurd to call him a “courageous champion of human rights”. Seriously?
    Give him a break but don’t give him any awards either.

  • Matt G

    these protesters are awfully thick. What if he’s got some grand surprise in waiting? I always thought it to be better to be like Julia in 1984, get deep within the organization you hate and take it down from the inside. Like a hollow point bullet, you have to penetrate deep before you explode to do the most damage

  • AxelDC

    Leave Brittany Alone!

  • corey

    Maybe when he get his ass kicked when security is looking the other way (it happened to JFK, it can happen to anyone anywhere, hope he has bullet proof panties) while in Russia, he may become more of a msn and not just a pussy-ass boy who twirls like a nelli on ice!

  • Jawsch

    Because, you know, coming out wasn’t enough for these people?

    Why is it people want to demand other people do things and condemn them for not doing it. But I don’t see their asses out there doing anything about it.

    Why don’t these hecklers go to Russia and do exactly what they are demanding of other people?

    They aren’t required to do shit. The host of the event may have said things that weren’t true but raise those issues with the person who said them. Doesn’t mean he had anything to do with it and asked them or made them say it.

    Sometimes I’m baffled at the ignorance of LGBT Activists

  • DShucking

    Here we go again demanding that people do what we think they should do, how we think they should live their lives. Fuck how they feel, fuck that they are individuals. Do what we say because that’s the only way.

  • Kieran

    Ofcourse they wouldn’t dare throw a public tantrum in front of strait NBC bigwigs like Bob Costas or Tom Brokaw demanding that they speak out against homophobia. No. Only gay athletes get targeted because gay athletes are required to stay home in order to punish Putin.

  • balehead

    Just found out he came out for a reality show…..Gee that’s swell….

  • davidseohio1

    @Jawsch: @Jawsch: AMEN! Well said!

  • davidseohio1

    @Kieran: It’s nice to hear another person who makes sense instead of jumping on the bandwagon of demanding gay people to “act-out” – but only in a way that satisfies the hecklers. Being gay does not make us lemmings. We still have free choice and so do these athletes. These activist groups and even GLAAD don’t speak for all of us.

  • Ronbo

    @DShucking: “a courageous champion of human rights and artists.”

    Hummmm. If illustrious praise and adoration is bequeathed, shouldn’t there be something of substance in his history. Remaining closeted in fear until given the green-light isn’t exactly brave.

    In related news, Bryant Gumbel refuses to go sit at the back of the bus. He is now “a courageous champion of human rights and artists.”

  • freddiebaker

    my Aunty Brooke recently got yellow Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe just by part-time work from a computer… look at more info

  • iMort

    Being aggressive and nasty probably comes from impatience, I am sure Boitano is doing his best. This whole Olympic saga is fascinating.

  • DShucking

    @Ronbo: You’re attributing a quote to me that I never said.

  • Cam

    @Jawsch: said… “Because, you know, coming out wasn’t enough for these people?

    Why is it people want to demand other people do things and condemn them for not doing it. But I don’t see their asses out there doing anything about it.


    Actually the protests seem to be because he was being described as basically an activist, a courageous champion of human rights.”

    Merely coming out of the closet, something a huge number of people do is not being a courageous champion of human rights.

    You’re right, he isn’t required to do shit, but in the same vein, don’t take a label of somebody who IS doing shit when you aren’t.

  • EdgarCarpenter

    Such an easy target, and what can he do to defend himself? Whatever he says or does will not be enough for the chorus of self-defined activists who specialize in attacking other gay people.

    I know that it’s hard actually doing something effective, like working to expose the Russian Orthodox Church’s hypocrisy and interference with the Russian legislative process, or exposing the connections between deep-pocket American anti-gay conservatives and their congressional henchmen who constantly work against any moves towards full equality, but really, it’s not American gay celebrities who are the problem here.

    Conservative Christian gay-bashers read articles and comments like these and feel all warm inside; they know that when we waste our time and energy attacking each other, we cut back on the attention we pay to the violence they commit against us.

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