Stephen Fry’s open letter to the Olympic committee: keep the Winter Games out of Russia.

Stephen Fry has penned a wonderful open letter to the British Prime Minister, the IOC, and others, Stephen Fry has asked that Russia not be allowed to house the Winter Games in 2014 on account of the country’s growing anti-gay fervor.

In an open letter to the PM, the International Olympic Committee and London 2012′s Lord Coe, he said Russia was “making scapegoats of gay people”.

The government said it was working closely with organisers to ensure the Games were free from discrimination.

In Russia, it is illegal to give under-18s information about homosexuality.

Fry wrote:

“It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village. An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 is simply essential,” he wrote.

“Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillehammer, anywhere you like. At all costs (Russian President Vladimir) Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.”

And he’s right.  What is taking place in Russia right now is beyond inhumane.

Fry’s appeal to the Prime Minister was particularly well-written:

Mr Fry made a direct appeal to the prime minister at the end of the letter. He says he has the “utmost respect” for Mr Cameron and urged him to act on his instinct.

“As the leader of a party I have for almost all of my life opposed and instinctively disliked, you showed a determined, passionate and clearly honest commitment to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights and helped push gay marriage through both houses of our Parliament in the teeth of vehement opposition from so many of your own side,” he wrote.

“For that I will always admire you, whatever other differences may lie between us. In the end I believe you know when a thing is wrong or right. Please act on that instinct now.”

Sadly, one of the openly gay Olympians does not share Fry’s sentiment:

Johnny Weir, the openly gay US figure skater, has told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme that he would not observe any boycott of the Games .

“To attack Russia is silly. It’s not Russia’s public’s fault that their government is so bigoted and creating so many problems for a minority group,” he said.

If 85% of the country’s population didn’t oppose gay rights, he might have a point.  Countries are molded by their governments, and it is the government which must realize that human rights violations will not be suffered kindly by the rest of the civilized world.  And, in this case, the government is a reflection of the populace.

Being a part of the global community is a privilege earned with wisdom and compassion, not a right present regardless of how callous a nation might be.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • iknklast

    Just one more reason to like Stephen Fry. He is not afraid to stand up for what he believes.

    • Zinc Avenger

      I hate that I’m not Stephen Fry.

  • BionicWoman

    George Takei pointed out that Vancouver is still pretty much set up to house the Olympics again: http://www.allegiancemusical.com/blog-entry/its-time-move-olympics

    • Gehennah

      I’d rather see our friends in Canada get to host it than Putin and his government.

  • invivoMark

    George Takei made a similar plea: http://www.allegiancemusical.com/blog-entry/its-time-move-olympics

    I can understand Weir’s position. He wants to compete, and he wants his performance not to be under the shadow of a massive human rights controversy. I understand that. Anyone who has ever had a skill they are proud of can understand that. However, he is one of the few people in the best position to do anything to improve the situation for gays, and I think he is taking the wrong action.

    I’m very glad Fry is taking a stand, and I hope many more follow his and Takei’s lead.

    *Edit*: You know, I never thought I’d see the day when Utah, of all places, would be seen as a better alternative for acceptance of gays.

  • tsara

    If they move the Games out of Russia, I will go out of my way to watch them (for the first time ever). I will also buy an Olympics-merchandise shirt (also for the first time ever), write ‘queer’ on it, and wear it as often as I can for the duration of the Games.

    • TurelieTelcontar

      You know, I think that I might follow you. I did regret that I can’t boycott the games, as I’m not watching them anyway, so that sounds like a solution.

  • Rory

    If Johnny thinks the boycott is silly, I’d invite him to step outside the Olympic village and tell some of the natives that he’s gay and proud. Let’s see how he feels about the Russian people when he’s paying a fine (or locked up) for ‘propagandizing’ homosexual views.


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