Victoria Derbyshire apologises to viewers after explicit Russia LGBTQ+ comment on live TV

Victoria Derbyshire, pictured.

Broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire was forced to apologise to BBC Newsnight viewers on behalf of comments made by a Russian feminist musician and activist.

The 55-year-old journalist apologised to viewers who may have been offended by comments from Russian Pussy Riot artist Nadya Tolokonnikova during a discussion on LGBTQ+ rights in the country.

The feminist musician, who is openly anti-Putin, was asked to speak during a discussion on the late-night news programme regarding the recently passed Supreme Court decision in Russia, which has effectively banned all LGBTQ+ activism.

The declaration was handed down on Wednesday (29 November) and labelled a nonexistent “international public LGBT movement” as “extremists”.

It comes amid years of the widely conservative country cracking down on LGBTQ+ rights through censorship and homophobic legislation.

Commenting on the development, Tolokonnikova argued that the Russian people are not as homophobic as the Supreme Court decision suggests, while reflecting on growing up in the country in the 1990s.

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Tolokonnikova finished by saying: “I guess the point of my long speech was that Russian people are not homophobic.

“I spent some time in a Russian jail and I was communicating with Russian prisoners, male prisoners, and for them, it’s a funny thing that you can f**k another guy in the a**, but it’s not a reason to hate them.”

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Derbyshire, seemingly unfazed by the comments, replied: “I’m so glad you made your point.”

She then turned to the camera and said: “If anyone’s offended by the language, you know, I’m really sorry.” Tolokonnikova could reportedly be heard laughing in the background.

Nadya Tolokonnikova during a Pussy Riot performance.
Nadya Tolokonnikova during a Pussy Riot performance. (Getty)

The Russian musician and activist has a history of pushing boundaries to spread her pro-LGBTQ+ and pro-feminist messages.

In 2012, she made international headlines along with fellow Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich for openly protesting Vladimir Putin in ski masks and acting out a ‘punk prayer’.

The members were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for the act, which officials described as “hooliganism”. It was reportedly intended to highlight the close ties between the Russian Orthodox Church, not to offend believers.

As of March 2023, Tolokonnikova has also been placed on Russia’s wanted list by its Interior Ministry, which did not specify the reasoning behind the decision.

Russian authorities reportedly opened an investigation for what it described as “insulting the religious feelings of believers” earlier in 2023.

The artist – who currently lives outside of Russia – was also added to a list of so-called ‘foreign agents’ in December 2021.

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