Ian McKellen Blasts IOC for Acceptance of Russia's Antigay Laws

By Jase Peeples

Originally published on Advocate.com October 01 2013 2:46 PM ET

Out actor and LGBT activist Ian McKellen has used Facebook to air his feelings about the International Olympic Committee’s recent announcement that Russia’s antigay laws — one of which which forbids any public display of support for LGBT people — did not violate the organization’s charter.

"As a gay participant in the opening ceremony of the London Paralympics in 2012, I am angered by the International Olympics Committee's announcement that harsh Russian anti-gay laws do not transgress its own Sixth Fundamental Principle of Olympism that 'any form of discrimination is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic movement,'" McKellen wrote on his Facebook page. "In Russia, it is now effectively illegal to speak about homosexuality in public. That means that openly gay visitors to Russia, including Olympians, are only welcome if they bring their closets with them. I agree with the Human Rights Campaign that, ‘The IOC has completely neglected its responsibility to athletes, corporate sponsors, and fans.'"

Last month, the IOC announced that it is "completely satisfied" with vague promises from Russian diplomats that LGBT athletes and spectators will be safe during the Winter Games and will not be affected by the country’s antigay laws while on the Olympic grounds. "The Olympic Charter states that all segregation is completely prohibited, whether it be on the grounds of race, religion, color, or other, on the Olympic territory," Jean-Claude Killy, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission, told the Associated Press at a press conference in Sochi, where the games will be held. "That will be the case, we are convinced."