Actor and screenwriter Wentworth Miller today rejected an invitation to attend the St. Petersburg International Film Festival, citing Russia's anti-LGBT laws. In a letter to the Festival's Director, the 'Prison Break' star stated that "as a gay man, I must decline." Miller goes on to say that he is "deeply troubled" by Russia's lawful brutality toward the LGBT community. "I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly," Miller concludes.
Read Miller's full letter to the St. Petersburg International Film Festival below.
August 21, 2013
Re: St. Petersburg International Film Festival / "Guest of Honor" Invitation
Dear Ms. Averbakh:
Thank you for your kind invitation. As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes.
However, as a gay man, I must decline.
I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government. The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.
Perhaps, when and if circumstances improve, I'll be free to make a different choice.
Member, The ManKind Project
"Wentworth's bold show of support sends a powerful message to LGBT Russians, who are facing extreme violence and persecution: you are not alone," said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz. " As people from across the globe continue to speak out against Russia's horrific law, more celebrities and corporations should follow his courageous lead in openly condemning Russia's anti-LGBT law."
Earlier this year, Russian president Vladimir Putin passed a law that prohibits the adoption of Russian-born children to national and international same-sex couples, as well as any couples living in a country that has any LGBT acceptance policies. President Putin has also signed a law which bans the public, including tourists, from presenting pro-LGBT "propaganda." Such propaganda can include something simple as hand holding, t-shirts, or pro-gay statements. "Criminals" who break these laws are at risk of being fined, arrested, or deported. Following the passage of these laws has been a surge in anti-LGBT violence in the country.
GLAAD and Rusa LGBT, an organization that works to support LGBT Russians, are collaborating with multiple organizations to address the ongoing persecution of LGBT Russians, who are facing extreme violence and oppression due to the recent passage of the country's draconian 'anti-gay propaganda' law.