WATCH: Harvey Fierstein Takes Putin Protest Live
By Andrew Belonsky
Harvey Fierstein's week began with a New York Times op-ed blasting Russian President Vladimir Putin for his country's unbelievably far-reaching anti-gay laws, including bans on any and all pro-LGBT speech and prohibitions on adoptions by people who live in countries that allow same-sex marriage. The laws, Fierstein wrote, are eerily familiar: "Mr. Putin’s campaign against lesbian, gay and bisexual people is one of distraction, a strategy of demonizing a minority for political gain taken straight from the Nazi playbook."
"Can we allow this war against human rights to go unanswered? Although Mr. Putin may think he can control his creation, history proves he cannot: his condemnations are permission to commit violence against gays and lesbians. In May a young gay man was murdered in the city of Volgograd. He was beaten, his body violated with beer bottles, his clothing set on fire, his head crushed with a rock. This is most likely just the beginning."
Fierstein made similar comments on Lawrence O'Donnell's MSNBC show last night. Russia's anti-gay laws are like pogroms against the Jews, he says, and are a way for Putin to distract from his nation's economic woes. World leaders, particularly those organizing the Winter Olympics being held in Russia in February, need to step up and take Putin to task. "Putin is a rat" who needs to be "starved out," Fierstein says in this clip.