Sir Ian McKellen
Openly gay Lord of the Rings and X-Men actor and long-time LGBTI activist Sir Ian McKellen says that he’s against a boycott of Russia’s Winter Olympic Games.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, McKellen (74) described President Vladimir Putin’s gay propaganda law as “the worst thing to have come out of Russia for a very, very long time”.
The British star went on to say: “The Olympics is a very special event and for 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…”
He added that: “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…”
McKellen suggested that instead of a boycott the participants in the Games could use the event to make a statement.
“I think what would be wonderful 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 of the spirit of the Olympics must take precedence.”
Meanwhile, the Russian authorities arrested gay rights activists who attempted to stage a protest outside the Winter Olympics headquarters in Moscow on Wednesday. Controversial activist Nikolai Alexeyev was among those arrested.
The protest took place as a delegation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was conducting an inspection of the facilities in the host city of Sochi.