WATCH: Harvey Fierstein, Dan Savage Equate Russia to 1933 Nazi Germany

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com August 15 2013 1:23 PM ET

MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes hosted two passionate out activists on his show All In Wednesday, allowing both to speak at length about ways to combat the anti-LGBT laws and culture in Russia.

Actor, Tony-winning playwright, and activist Harvey Fierstein was characteristically animated when he spoke with Hayes and condemned an All In segment that aired earlier this week that he felt dismissed the proposed boycotts of both the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and Dan Savage's call to boycott Russian-made vodka. 

Calling the national ban on so-called homosexual propaganda and Russia's refusal to allow gay, lesbian, or single foreigners to adopt Russian orphans "absolutely frightening," Fierstein compared President Vladimir Putin's anti-LGBT laws to Nazi Germany. 

"It’s time for us to put our foot down and say we will not be the scapegoat of the world any longer,” Fierstein said. "The gay community has, in our history, been attacked in every way you can attack a group. There’s nothing that the human race has thought of to tear down other people that hasn’t been used on us. Thankfully we have, over the centuries, over the decades, and over the last few years made some great strides where people realize we’re just human beings, we are your family, we’re not a strange group from somewhere else. We belong in your family, we’re teachers, parents, children."

Watch Fierstein's appearance below.


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Click to the following page to watch Dan Savage argue that his "Dump Russian Vodka" campaign is working and clarify his own comparison of Russia's anti-LGBT climate to the anti-Semitic climate in Adolf Hitler's Germany in 1933.

When Hayes managed to quiet Fierstein's passionate rhetoric, he turned his attention to out author and activist Dan Savage, who proposed a boycott of Russian-made vodka that he says is already having an impact. 

“The goal of the boycott is to target an iconic product, and vodka is Russia’s most iconic product," said Savage. "To raise awareness around the world, which is what this vodka boycott called by activists in San Francisco and New York and Seattle has done."

Like Fierstein, Savage compared Russia's current anti-LGBT climate to anti-Semitic attitudes in Weimar Republic Germany, which resulted in Hitler's rise to power and subsequent murder of 6 million Jewish people and hundreds of thousands of others, including LGBT folks. 

"We’re not comparing the situation right now in Russia to what went on — what happened to the Jews," explained Savage. "What’s happening in Russia to LGBT people isn’t what happened to Jews in 1943, it’s what happened to them in 1933. People didn’t speak up at the volume they should have, and we’re speaking up now to try to prevent that catastrophe from unfolding."

Watch that exchange below.

 

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