US journalist says Russian state TV told pre-arranged taxi to dump him on a highway

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A US reporter who appeared on Russian state-funded television yesterday, refused to talk about Bradley Manning, and instead using his time to speak out against the repression of LGBT people in the country before being cut off, has now accused the network of telling a Swedish taxi driver to drop him off on a highway.

US reporter James Kirchick was invited onto Russian state-funded TV to talk about Bradley Manning , but who used his time to speak out against the repression of LGBT people in the country was cut off by the host, but not before saying “we’re not going to be silent of horrific repression”.

Describing the RT channel (formerly Russia Today), as the “Kremlin funded propaganda network”, James Kirchick pulled up rainbow braces and refuses to speak about Bradley Manning, instead speaking out against anti-gay laws passed in June by the Russian State Duma.

As the host attempted to steer him back to discuss Bradley Manning, Kirchick says he wants Russian LGBT people to know that “they have allies all over the world, and that we’re not going to be silent in the face of this horriffic repression that is perpetrated by your paymaster, by Vladimir Putin.

“I don’t know as a journalist how you can go to sleep at night, seeing what happens to journalists in Russia, who are routinely harassed, tortured and sometimes killed by the Russian Government.”

He has since said the taxi driver in the car he was in on his way to the airport in Sweden when the taxi driver received a phone call instructing him to drop Kirchick off at the side of the road.

“So about halfway down the highway on the way to the airport, my driver gets a phone call from his boss saying that the car ride has been cancelled and that he’ll have to drop me off on the side of the road,” he said.

“And I told him that I would pick up the tab. But at the end, actually, at the airport, he said that the ride was free, so maybe we have some anti-Putin activists in the Swedish taxi company.”

Kirchick said the channel did not explain its actions, but did call to say that the pre-arranged taxi was being cancelled. He said he used “adult language and told them where to put it.”

He said he planned to continue speaking out against the Russian anti-gay law, and said he would “encourage anyone who goes on RT to hijack the forum” and to do the same.

A gay Russian television presenter recently said he was sacked the same evening as he came out live on air on a Kremlin-backed station he helped to set up.

President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. Other laws banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples, and one which enables organisations receiving funding from abroad to be fined as “foreign agents”, were also passed.

The laws have so far sparked controversy among LGBT activists, with some calling for a boycott of the 2014 Games. Others have also called to boycott Russian vodka as a form of protest.

The Russian Interior Ministry confirmed last week that the anti-gay legislation will remain in force during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

A petition which has gathered over 150,000 signatures, calls for the 2014 games to be relocated to Vancouver, following the passage of anti-gay laws in Russia.

US soldier Bradley Manning was today sentenced to 35 years in prison for her involvement in leaking large numbers of secret documents to Wikileaks.