Rights Group Asks Hollywood Studios to Oppose Russia's Anti-Gay Campaign (Exclusive)
Fox, Paramount, Disney, Sony, Universal and Warners are called upon by HRC to denounce the laws at upcoming film premieres in the region.
Amid a growing climate of government-sanctioned hostility aimed squarely at Russia's gay and lesbian citizens, the Human Rights Campaign has issued a plea for help to all major Hollywood studios, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
Read the letter here.
In a letter sent Thursday to the presidents of Fox, Paramount, Disney, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. and the MPAA, HRC president Chad Griffin says that a spate of newly passed laws are resulting in LGBT youth being "goaded, entrapped and beaten by thugs," while anyone perceived as being gay or gay-friendly can be tossed in jail without question or cause.
"We have a moral responsibility not to ignore backsliding abroad," Griffin says of the rights violations, and makes of the studio chiefs two requests: that they "make clear and visible statements" in support of Russia's LGBT citizenry and against the policies at Russian movie premieres, and to meet with Russian leaders to demand the laws be repealed.
HRC stops short of calling for a production ban in the region, only going so far as to suggest that the laws as they now stand will have a "chilling effect … on future film production, shooting, publicity and distribution within the Russian Federation."
The letter comes just days after HRC issued another to NBCUniversal CEO Stephen Burke, urging him to expose Russia's new policies "to the millions of American viewers who will tune in to watch the [Winter Olympic] Games [in Sochi]."
Playwright Harvey Fierstein went further, however, penning a passionate op-ed in The New York Times in which he demanded a full U.S. boycott of the Olympics.
"There's only one way to change somebody like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and that's in the pocketbook," he later told THR. Another strategy calls for boycotts on all brands of Russian vodkas.