Journalist Jamie Kirchick used an appearance Wednesday on Russian network RT to protest recent anti-gay laws passed in Russia and was kicked off the show as a result.
“Being here on a Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I’m going to wear my gay pride suspenders and speak out against the horrific, anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin has signed into law, that was passed unanimously by the [Russian] Duma, that criminalize homosexual propaganda, effectively makes it illegal to talk about homosexuality in public; we’ve seen a spate of violent attacks.” Kirchick said on air while putting on rainbow suspenders.
As Kirchick continued his speech, the RT host tried to steer Kirchick toward the topic at hand, U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial, but was unsuccessful. Kirchick slammed the reporters on RT for complying with their “paymasters” and Vladimir Putin.
“I don’t know as a journalists how you can go to sleep at night seeing what happens to journalists in Russia who are routinely harassed, tortured, how you can yourself a journalist, I find that abominable; you should be ashamed of yourself. Everyone who works at this network should be ashamed at yourself,” Kirchick said.
RT is a nonprofit Russian media website and cable news channel funded by the Russian government.
One of the RT hosts told Kirchick, “You have to come over here and see for yourself.”
“You have 24 hours a day to lie about America, I am going to take my two minutes and tell people the truth,” Kirkchick said.
(Also on POLITICO: Jeff Merkley bill targeting Russia LGBT law)
Kirchick slammed RT for covering Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden extensively but not paying attention to the issues around gay rights. One of the RT hosts told Kirchick the network had in fact hosted a debate on the issue in recent weeks in a panel with host Oksana Boyko, although during that show she argued in support of the law.
Shortly before appearing on the show, Kirchick hinted that he may be planning something when he tweeted “Need a rainbow flag in #Stockholm fast. Can anyone help?”
After his appearance, an RT host explained why they pulled Kirchick from the show.
“A quick explanation now for the beginning of our coverage of the Bradley Manning sentences,” she said. “We invited a guest on to discuss the fate of the whistleblower, but he used the chance to discuss his views on other unrelated issues and that’s why we had to take him off air. We would like to say sorry for any confusion caused.”
Kirchick also tweeted that RT abruptly canceled the car service that was to take him to the airport after his appearance: “True fact: @RT_com just called taxi company that took me to studio to drop me off on the side of the highway on way to Stockholm airport.”