By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com November 18 2013 3:40 PM ET
Taking a page from the playbook of American right-wingers, a Russian journalist claimed this weekend that the country's "gay activity" caused a meteorite to strike the Russian region of Chelyabinsk February 15.
Arkady Mamontov, who Kremlin-backed news outlet Ria Novosti calls a "famous journalist," claimed that the meteor that struck the central Russian province as a warning to Russians not to embrace "nontraditional sexual relationships," which a nationwide law banned the depiction of earlier this year.
On his Special Correspondent program, Mamontov said the strike should serve as a warning "to all of us that we should keep the family tradition, traditional love, or else something else — not only the Chelyabinsk meteorite — will hit us," according to Ria Novosti.
The Russian news report also notes that Mamontov served as the anchor for a recent "exposé" on the so-called homosexual agenda that aired on state-sponsored television last week. That biased video report, titled "Litsedei," Russian for "Hypocrites," included allegations that LGBT people in Russia exist only because of Western influence, and featured secretly recorded audio from a private October meeting of LGBT Russians with international human rights organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, All Out, and and Human Rights Watch.
The two-day meeting was convened to discuss the increasingly dire state of LGBT existence in Russia ahead of the country's hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The state-sponsored TV report, however, painted the October meeting in a much more sinister light. According to BuzzFeed's translation of the Russian-language broadcast, the program characterized the October meeting as a "for-reasons-unclear, closed-to-the-public conference funded by the Soros Foundation [organized because] foreigners were afraid the LGBT-ization of Russia is going too slowly."
In response to the "Litsedei" report and Mamontov's recent inflammatory comments, LGBT activists in Russia have filed a complaint with the state prosecutor's office alleging that Mamontov has engaged in hate speech.