Russian Actor Quits Endorsement Deal, Gets New One After Anti-Gay Remarks

Ivan Okhlobystin, who has called for the criminal persecution of homosexuals, left mobile retailer Evroset, an authorized retailer of Apple products, only to be hired by an apparel manufacturer.

MOSCOW -- Russian actor Ivan Okhlobystin, known for considering a presidential run two years ago, has quit his job as creative director and face of local mobile retailer Evroset, an authorized retailer of Apple products in the country, amid a controversy over recent anti-gay comments.

The 47-year-old Okhlobystin, who also has a 10-year stint as an Orthodox priest on his resume, made headlines last month when he called for homosexuals to be burned alive.

Earlier this year, he wrote an open letter to President Vladimir Putin, urging him to re-instate criminal punishment for "sodomy," which existed in Soviet times.

Following Okhlobystin's statements, Russian media reported that Apple was looking to terminate its contract with Evroset. The firm denied that and said it would not fire the actor as it supports "freedom of expression."

Russia has made global headlines with anti-gay legislation passed last year. Okhlobystin said he has been criticized and claimed he has also been threatened after making his comments.

"Taking into consideration constant threats, provocations and insults from sodomites against my friends, partners and their families, I insisted on my resignation as Evroset's creative director," the actor tweeted.

However, Okhlobystin was immediately hired for a similar role by Russian apparel manufacturer Baon.

The company's owner, Ilya Yaroshenko, said that one of the reasons was the shared values between the company and the actor. "Okhlobystin perfectly suits our target audience, our brand's values, such as family, Orthodox Christianity and also what he is fighting for," Yaroshenko was quoted as saying by wire service RIA Novosti.