A Russian opposition newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, made the allegations earlier this month, reporting that more than 100 gay men had been detained “in connection with their nontraditional sexual orientation.” A second Novaya Gazeta report doubled down on the claims, with a source telling the newspaper that the Muslim-majority region’s anti-LGBTQ purge includes Nazi-style concentration camps.
In a video posted to his Facebook page late Wednesday, Cohen appeared in an uncharacteristically serious mood as he addressed the reports, which have since sparked a global media firestorm. The Bravo host, 48, addressed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov directly in the clip, which can be viewed below.
“You, sir, are responsible for these crimes. Imprisoning people because of who they love is inhuman,” Cohen said. “You have to stop it. Free the gays.” He then encouraged his followers to “protest until they’re released,” and directed them to an online petition launched by OutRight International, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, in response to the allegations.
Cohen follows in the footsteps of Ellen DeGeneres, Matt Bomer, Billy Eichner and other openly queer celebrities in speaking out against the alleged violence. On Thursday, *NSYNC star Lance Bass addressed the alleged detainees directly in a TMZ interview, which can be viewed below.
“Stay strong. We love you. This world loves you, and things will change,” Bass said.
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