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Ian McKellen On Russia's Anti-Gay Law And Whether The Sochi Olympics Should Be Boycotted

09/24/2013 05:29 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Ian McKellen made an appearance in New York today to promote his two Broadway plays, "No Man’s Land” and “Waiting for Godot,” and took some time to talk about the anti-gay climate currently pervading Russia and the appropriate response regarding the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics.

McKellen stated:

The Olympics is a very special event and the people involved, of course, probably the climax of their lives. If we were to not hold the games because of the internal politics of the country in question, the problem is they would never take place... As a gay man it is absolutely appalling that this law has been passed which would inhibit me and any gay athletes that would go to Russia to be simply themselves.

The actor's statements come in the wake of months of alleged violence and legislation within Russia, including an "gay propaganda" law and a proposed bill that would remove children from the homes of their LGBT parents. Enabled by institutionalized homophobia, individuals in Russia have also experienced extreme violence from their peers and neighbors, including public acts of brutality and threats against the lives of LGBT-identifying Russians.

"I think what would be wonderful," continued McKellen, "is if all the athletes, gay and straight, and the Olympic authorities were to make clear that they absolutely disapprove of it and they are going to ignore it, not because they don't care but because the spirit of the Olympics must take precedence."

(h/t Out Magazine)

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