An American reporter was dropped from a segment on the state-funded television network Russia Today after he went off topic and strongly condemned Russia's controversial anti-gay laws.
"Being here on a Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I'm going to wear my gay pride suspenders and I'm going to speak out against the horrific anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin signed into law," the reporter, Jamie Kirchick, said while pulling on a pair of rainbow suspenders.
This summer, Russia implemented a new law banning gay "propaganda," which critics say essentially makes it a crime to be gay in public. The law has spawned a boycott of Russian vodka, and caused headaches for the International Olympic Committee; the 2014 Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia, and it is unclear how Russia will treat gay athletes, tourists, and members of the media who come for the Games.
Kirchick, who had been invited on the network to talk about the sentencing of Bradley Manning, said he instead wanted to "let the Russian gay people know that they have friends and allies in solidarity from people all over the world and that we're not going to be silent in the face of this horrific oppression."
He later accused the network of not reporting adequately about the anti-gay law, saying, "Everyone who works for this network should be ashamed of yourself."
"You have 24 hours a day to lie about the United States," he added. "I'm going to take my two minutes and tell people the truth."
Had RT been closely watching Kirchick's Twitter feed, the network may have known ahead of time he was preparing to go off topic. His last tweet before the segment:
Need a rainbow flag in #Stockholm, fast. Can anyone help?
— Jamie Kirchick (@jkirchick) August 21, 2013