A reporter who was supposed to go on the Kremlin-owned Russia Today news network to discuss Bradley Manning’s sentencing instead used the opportunity to protest Russia’s new anti-gay law on Wednesday.
“Being here on a Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I’m going to wear my gay pride suspenders and going to speak out against the horrific anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin has signed into law,” Jamie Kirchick said, pulling on rainbow suspenders on camera from his location in Stolkholm.
When one of the anchors tried to get him back on the topic of Manning, Kirchick said, “I’m not really interested in talking about Bradley Manning.”
“I’m interested in talking about the horrific environment of homophobia in Russia right now and 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 repression that is perpetrated…by your paymasters, by Vladimir Putin,” he said. “That’s what I’m here to talk about.”
He turned on the anchor, asking how “as a journalist how you can go to sleep at night” while seeing the harassment that journalists in Russia face.
“Everyone who works for this network should be ashamed of yourself,” he said.
The anchor again tried to steer the conversation back to Manning.
“You have 24 hours a day to lie about the United States and to ignore what’s happening in Russia, you have 24 hours a day to do that, I am going to take my two minutes and tell people the truth,” Kirchick said.
Shortly thereafter, Kirchick vanished from the program’s split screen, according to the Washington Free Beacon. A host later apologized for “any confusion caused”: “We invited a guest on to discuss the fate of the whistleblower, but he used the chance to discuss his views on other unrelated issues and that’s why we had to take him off air.”
After his appearance, Kirchick tweeted that RT apparently canceled its car service for him.
“True fact: @RT_com just called taxi company that took me to studio to drop me off on the side of the highway on way to Stockholm airport,” he posted.
Prior to going on the air, Kirchick had tweeted, “Need a rainbow flag in #Stockholm, fast. Can anyone help?”
(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)