By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com August 08 2013 12:26 PM ET
Out British actor Stephen Fry lent his voice to a growing call for direct, written assurances that LGBT athletes and spectators will be safe from prosecution under Russia's national ban on so-called propaganda of "non-traditional sexual relations."
Fry wrote an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron and members of the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday, directly comparing Adolph Hitler's systematic execution of more than six million Jewish people to Russian President Vladimir Putin's escalating crusade against LGBT people.
Citing the 1936 Olympic games held in Berlin under Hitler's Third Reich, Fry notes that historians universally agree that the 1936 games "provided a stage for the gleeful Führer and only increased his status at home and abroad."
"Putin is eerily repeating this insane crime, only this time against LGBT Russians," wrote Fry in a blog post on his website. "Beatings, murders and humiliations are ignored by the police. Any defence or sane discussion of homosexuality is against the law. Any statement, for example, that Tchaikovsky was gay and that his art and life reflects this sexuality and are an inspiration to other gay artists would be punishable by imprisonment. It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village. The IOC absolutely must take a firm stance on behalf of the shared humanity it is supposed to represent against the barbaric, fascist law that Putin has pushed through the Duma."
Fry's signature was among the more than 320,000 that were delivered to the IOC headquarters in Switzerland this week, according to CNN. The petition, launched by LGBT organization All Out, now has more than 340,000 signatures, and demands the IOC speak out against Russia's antigay legislation.
The International Olympic Committee previously said it had received assurances from Russian officials that LGBT athletes would be exempt from the law, which imposes fines and possible jail time for anyone speaking out about LGBT identities. But at least two Russian lawmakers have said the government doesn't have the authority to suspend the law during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.