NEW YORK — Actor and LGBT activist George Takei on Wednesday repeated his call for the 2014 Winter Olympic games to be moved out of Russia.
Expressing doubts that LGBT athletes and fans would be safe under Russia’s harsh new anti-gay policies – and conflicting reports on whether those policies would be enforced on athletes and spectators at Sochi, Takei said, “Given this position, the IOC must do the right thing, protect its athletes and the fans, and move the 2014 Winter Olympics out of Russia.”
Russia has come under heavy criticism over recently enacted legislation that imposes fines on individuals accused of spreading “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” to minors, and imposes penalties for those who express these views online or in the news media. Gay pride rallies also are banned, as are public display of affection, including holding hands, between persons of the same gender.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “The last Word’ Wednesday,” Takei told moderator Lawrence O’Donnell that holding the games in Russia would “besmirch the Olympics name as well as all the corporate [sponsors].”
Takei is promoting a petition to move the 2014 Winter Olympics to Vancouver, where they were held in 2010, and where many facilities are still in operation. By Thursday morning, more than 90,000 people had signed it.
“This is a situation of good vs. evil. It is evil that is happening there, and we must not play into Putin’s game,” Takei said.