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Who Was the Shirtless Man on Livestream With Anti-LGBTQ+ Politician?

Petras Grazulis

Lithuania's Petras Grazulis, who has likened LGBTQ+ people to necrophiliacs, claims the man who appeared with him in a Zoom meeting was a journalist stalking him. 

An infamously homophobic member of Lithuania's parliament was caught on Zoom with a shirtless man in the background in a recent meeting, and he's given the strange explanation that it was a journalist who's stalking him.

Petras Grazulis, a member of the Seimas, as the parliament is known, was in a Zoom meeting of the body's culture committee last week when the man appeared briefly, according to several Lithuanian media outlets, as translated by International Business Times, the New York Daily News,PinkNews, and others. Grazulis is known for his anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and failed attempts to ban Pride parades, and he's even been arrested protesting at one.

After the meeting -- it was livestreamed on YouTube, and video of it remains online -- Grazulis received numerous questions about the man's identity. At first he said it was his son, who was helping him with some computer technology, but then he alleged it was Andrius Tapinas, a Lithuanian news anchor who has been critical of him.

"To keep you all from asking the same question, I will just tell you," he told fellow members of the Seimas. "Ten other MPs already asked me that question. It was Andrius Tapinas, it was really Andrius Tapinas. If you don't believe me, just ask him." Tapinas has denied that it was him.

Grazulis didn't say why Tapinas would have been in the politician's apartment, except that he claimed the journalist has been stalking him. "When I'm visiting Gargzdai, when I'm visiting my daughter in Palanga, he stands under the windows," Grazulis said, naming two Lithuanian towns. "He has been haunting me for half a year now."

Grazulis has called LGBTQ+ people "sick and perverted," likened them to necrophiliacs and pedophiles, and said they should not be allowed to adopt children. He once crashed an LGBTQ+ event to present a pair of jeans with the zipper in back, ostensibly to facilitate anal sex. He has proposed legislation to ban so-called gay propaganda, which has failed to pass, as have his numerous attempts to ban Pride parades. In 2013 he was among 28 protesters arrested at Baltic Pride in the capital city of Vilnius; protesters had thrown eggs and other projectiles at participants, and had tried to storm the stage.

The questions about the man in Grazulis's apartment come shortly after another homophobic Eastern European politician, Hungary's Jozsef Szajer, was caught at an all-male sex party in Brussels, Belgium, that had been reported to police for violating COVID-19 restrictions. Szajer then resigned his position representing Hungary's right-wing ruling party in the European Parliament.

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