WATCH: Thomas Roberts Speaks To Fired Gay TV Anchor On Controversial Trip To Russia

Thomas Roberts is in Moscow this week to host the Miss Universe pageant, a glamorous gig previously turned down by fellow power gay Andy Cohen due to Russia’s markedly homophobic actions and attitudes towards its LGBT citizens. Though he faced criticism for taking the job, the openly gay MSNBC anchor defended his decision:

Boycotting and vilifying from the outside is too easy. Rather, I choose to offer my support of the LGBT community in Russia by going to Moscow and hosting this event as a journalist, an anchor and a man who happens to be gay. Let people see I am no different than anyone else.

On his first day in the former Soviet Union, Roberts sat down with Anton Krasovsky, the Russian journalist who earlier this year lost his job only hours after coming out publicly on air. Still without a job or money, Krasovsky is also without any regrets.

“I thought that it was my debt to Russian gay people,” Krasovsky says. “To Russian people, to all Russian people, because it’s not about gay rights, it’s about human rights.”

In the lead-up to the 2014 Winter Olympic in Sochi this coming February, global attention has been focused on Russia and its treatment of LGBT people. Over the summer, the government passed a vaguely-worded law banning so-called gay “propaganda” around children.

After facing some mild pressure from the International Olympic Committee, Russian government officials and President Vladimir Putin repeatedly assured the world that gays would be treated no differently, as long as they abide by the law.

But according to Roberts — and common sense — gay people are treated differently by the very definition of the propaganda law: “It’s really a taboo subject here in Russia to bring up the fact that these propaganda laws even exist, to discuss that there is a distinction between the classes and right now because of the anti-propaganda laws it does make the LGBT community a second class citizen.”

Roberts, who is in Moscow with his husband Patrick Abner, has a unique opportunity to be visible — to show that he is “no different from anyone else” — and hopefully he’ll make the most of it. Of course, he should also be careful as just a few days ago two Norwegian journalists were detained for allegedly painting an unflattering portrait of the Sochi Olympics.

Roberts will continue to speak with other LGBT Russians, like Anton Krasovsky, and shed some (questionably unflattering?) light on Russia’s anti-gay laws until that giant tiara is placed gingerly on a giant stack of hair for the rest of the week.

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  • BJ McFrisky

    Give me a break. If Roberts were truly doing this out of altruism, then he should do it for free. As it is, it’s purely an opportunity for him to line his pockets.

  • viveutvivas

    Did he bother to ask the Russian LGBT community if they wanted him to “support them” by presenting this pageant? What a laughable excuse to do just what he wants, namely, make money.

  • litper

    He just used this as a chance to hook up with this hottie!

  • Sammy Schlipshit

    It’s both pitiful and predictable to see the commentators on this site doing the usual bitchy put-downs.

    I’m not sure what I would do in Roberts shoes. Well, first of all I wouldn’t host such a program as a ‘beauty’ pageant much less one sponsored by ‘the donald’.

    That said, we all have our different roles to play to resolve that mess over there.

    Any candle in that darkness should be celebrated.

    My first reaction would be to ask the actual Russian GLBTQ folks what they wanted or needed from me.

    To all you negative cretins, lighten up.

    What are you doing to help?

  • RevJames

    @Sammy Schlipshit: He made a choice after the first guy took a stand. If he split the pay with the first guy, I would say great, point made and opportunity taken no one loses.

  • Derek Williams

    This will work only if Russian people think he is OK, and if they also know he is gay, AND he speaks out against the recriminalisation of homosexuality and the resultant escalation in the persecution of homosexuals nationwide.

    If all those things happen, then yes, better to go there and martyr yourself than to stay at home and watch gays getting beaten on TV.

  • mezzacanadese

    I notice that some of you say that Roberts is just doing this to line his pockets. All I can say is that there are a lot safer places to do this.

  • Bully2

    @BJ McFrisky: Well, why shouldn’t Thomas Roberts get paid for doing a job that anyone else would get paid to do? I don’t think that payment denigrates the deed. Contrarily, I would have preferred he boycott on a couple counts:

    1. Russia’s anti-gay stance.
    2. Donald Trump’s ownership of a good portion of Miss Universe.
    3. That beauty pageants are demeaning to women, they objectify women, and the so-called scholarships are far less than actually claimed by those holding the pageants. If pageants are SO great, why don’t we see Donald Trump in a swimsuit and a costume?

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