George Takei, the out actor best known for playing Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series, took a stand against Russia's antigay policies on MSNBC Wednesday night.
Speaking with Lawrence O'Donnell, the outspoken LGBT activist — and Japanese-American who was confined to an internment camp during the second World War — illustrated the dire state of human rights in President Vladimir Putin's Russia.
"This is a situation of good vs. evil," said the 76-year-old married activist on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. "It is evil that is happening there, and we must not play into Putin's game."
LGBT Russians and visitors have been harassed, beaten, and arrested under the nation's ban on so-called propaganda discussing any "non-traditional sexual relations" with minors, which Putin signed into law earlier this summer. Putin also signed a bill forbidding foreign gay and lesbian couples from adopting Russian orphans, extending even to single people in nations that have embraced marriage equality.
Calling the antigay climate in Russia "a terrible situation," Takei urged athletes, corporations, and everyday citizens to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, scheduled to take place in Sochi, Russia. Alternately, Takei suggested that the 2014 Olympics "must get out of Russia," suggesting Vancouver, Canada, as a friendly location that already contains the infrastructure to support the Olympics, as it hosted the 2010 Winter Games.
"There are athletes that are gay or lesbian and their supporters are gay or lesbian too, and they are being put in danger and if something horrific happens — and it’s very likely given the kind of history of what’s been happening there — the responsibility is great," said Takei. "The [International Olympic Committee] can move the Olympics out. There is enough time to do that yet… [But] the clock is ticking."
Watch Takei's appearance below, where he also draws direct parallels between Putin's Russia and Adolf Hilter's Third Reich, which hosted the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. "Three years before that, Hitler came to power and began this gradual campaign of horror against the Jewish people, and he got legitimacy throughout the world, he got more power, he got that status," said Takei. "And that’s precisely what we’re giving Putin with the Olympics being held there."