Stephen Fry tells PinkNews: ‘The way to stop a tyrant like Putin is to inconvenience him’

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In a PinkNews exclusive interview, Stephen Fry says greater pressure needs to be placed on Russia regarding its position on LGBT rights and he’s urging people to “mock” President Vladimir Putin.

The gay actor, author and comedian participated in Saturday’s Whitehall protest against Russia’s homophobic censorship laws close to Downing Street.

Hours earlier Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted to say it would not be appropriate to boycott the 2014 Russian Winter Olympics – but that he had great sympathy for the plight of the country’s LGBT community.

The PM was responding to Wednesday’s open letter by Fry, who had warned that President Putin was making “scapegoats” of gay people in a similar way to Hitler’s treatment of Jews.  

When asked at Saturday’s demonstration if world leaders were doing enough about Russia, Fry told “Not at the moment no. No I think they could try more. I think basically the way to stop a tyrant like Putin is to inconvenience him – to do the things he least wants you to do and to mock him – to have contempt for him and not to talk to him directly [and] not to recognise him as the legitimate voice of Russia because I don’t think he is.”

Fry’s open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron in which he urged for the Winter Olympics to be moved from Russia generated significant interest in the UK mainstream media – but he also wants national broadcasters and papers to increase their coverage of the LGBT situation in Russia.

“I’m glad that it did get some publicity,” Fry said to of the letter, before adding: “And naturally of course a vicious backlash from the Daily Mail – there would have been something wrong if it hadn’t been disliked by the Daily Mail.”

He went on to say: “But yeah it’s so hard isn’t it? There’s many, many things wrong with the world and homophobia in Russia isn’t the only thing that’s wrong with the world, but we can only attach ourselves to causes which mean the most to us at a particular time, and hope that slowly via some sort of drip-and-pressure effect we can make a difference.

“And I hope the athletes will make a difference at the Olympiad. I’m sure [the Sochi Games] will go ahead; I don’t have any illusions about that and when it does I suggest that all the athletes show their solidarity for it like the famous Black Panthers’ salute in Munich, which was such an incredible moment there.

“All of the athletes, straight or gay, should perform a symbol that everyone in the world will know refers to the suffering of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Russia.”