Andy Cohen

Andy Cohen

Openly gay American TV presenter Andy Cohen has refused to co-host the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, which is being held in Russia, due to the country’s anti-gay policies.

Cohen, who has co-hosted the event for the past two years with E! News’ Giuliana Rancic, told her that “their discriminatory policies make it unsafe for the gays who live there and gays coming to work or visit”.

The 45-year-old personality, author and television executive said that “The law is that anyone under suspicion of homosexuality can be arrested” explaining that he “didn’t feel right as a gay man stepping foot into Russia”.

It appears that Rancic will go ahead as a host, despite growing opposition to international events being held in Russia over it recently enacted law banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors.

An online petition is calling for the event, set to take place on 9 November in Moscow, to be moved to another country. This would be the first time that the Miss Universe is held in Russia.

“With this petition, we are asking the Miss Universe Organisation to send a strong message in favour of equality and human rights by pulling out from hosting the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow,” urges the petition’s creator.

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