Post submitted by Tushar M, HRC Global Engagement fellow
Ivan Okhlobystin, creative director of Russia’s largest mobile phone retailer Euroset, resigned today following his horrific statements during a “spiritual talk” in Novosibirsk, saying he wanted all gay people to burn alive in ovens.
"I would put all the gays alive into an oven,” Okhlobystin said on December 13. "This is Sodom and Gomorrah! As a religious person, I cannot be indifferent about it because it is a real threat to my children!"
Okhlobystin later reaffirmed his vitriol on Twitter.
In a statement released following his resignation, Okhlobystin claimed, “Given the incessant threats, provocations and insults from the sodomites in respect of my friends, associates and their families, I have insisted I should resign. People close to me do not have to suffer from my public position from which I will never give up.” He ended his statement with “Sodom and Gomorrah must be destroyed!”
A very popular Russian actor and director since the 90s, known for his role on the Russian version of “Scrubs,” and a short-lived presidential candidate hopeful, Ivan Okhlobystin is no stranger to controversial statements regarding the LGBT community.
Just last week, the actor created more controversy when he wrote an open-letter to President Vladimir Putin, asking for him to reinstate the ban on homosexuality in Russia. In the letter, he also expressed concern about how the “homosexual propaganda” law that was passed in 2013 wasn’t effective enough, and that not criminalizing homosexuality would give “sodomites...a Constitutional opportunity to defile the young generation.”
Since the passage of the anti-LGBT "propaganda” law in the Russian parliament last year, violence against LGBT people in Russia has continued to rise. Russian national media carries anti-LGBT messaging and activists are regularly being fined under this new law. Attacks against LGBT organizations and NGOs and individuals are also.
Amidst this increase in violence, Russia is slated to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in less than one month.