MOSCOW – Popular Russian actor Ivan Okhlobystin, known for his intention to run for president two years ago, made scathing homophobic statements at a “spiritual talk” that he gave in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk
Addressing the audience, he said that homosexuals should be burned alive, the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.
“I would put all the gays alive into an oven,” Okhlobystin, formerly an Orthodox priest, was quoted as saying. “This is Sodom and Gomorrah! As a religious person, I cannot be indifferent about it because it is a real threat to my children!”
He also compared homosexuality with fascism and added obscenities to his comments.
Okhlobystin later confirmed the press report on his Twitter account. “It sounded much more simply, but the meaning was rendered correctly,” he said. “Everyone has the right to express their opinions.”
The Russian gay community was upset by the actor’s remarks. “Lately, [Russian] public figures have gone out of their way, competing with each other in their homophobia, ” Nikolay Alexeyev, leader of Moscow’s gay community, told the radio station RSN, adding that Okhlobystin’s remarks could be viewed as “inciting hatred and enmity toward a social group.” Alexeyev also suggested that the actor could be denied visas to “civilized countries” because of his remarks.
Okhlobystin, most recently heard in the 2012 animated children’s movie The Snow Queen, first became famous as an actor and screenwriter in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, he became an Orthodox priest but requested to be defrocked in 2010 to resume his film career. In late 2011, he announced his intention to run for president and presented a program, “Doctrine 77,” but never officially registered as a presidential candidate.