On December, 26, a number of Russian LGBT organizations have sent a letter to Alexander Malis, president of the “Euroset” mobile handset retailer where Russian sitcom actor Ivan Okhlobystin is employed as a creative director. Activists asked Malis to clarify his position on Okhlobystin’s homophobic remarks he made during his tour in Novosibirsk in December.
Okhobystin said: “I myself would shove all live gays into a furnace”.
The letter was signed by the six Russian LGBT organizations including Russian LGBT Network, St. Peterburg organization “Coming Out”, Side by Side Film Festival, Russian LGBT Sports Federation and OutLout project, newspaper Izvestia reports.
In their letter activists wrote: “During last two weeks we were hoping and waiting for the Euroset company to react to the aggressive and misanthropic statement of one of its key and prominent employees – Mr. Ivan Okhlobystin. We address you with a request to publicly or/and in a reply letter react to the Ivan Okhlobystin’s statements, and to clarify how his views are aligned with values and principles of Euroset company, and to make a statement on inadmissability of bullying and violence based on prejudice towards gay, bisexual and transgender people” (see full text of the letter in Russian here).
Alexander Malis replied to the Izvestia newspaper request: “Ivan expressed his personal opinion, and we will not fire him for that. Of course, we are against burning anyone in furnaces. We have agreed that such statements will not be made anymore”.
LGBT activists are not satisfied with the “hasty and ignorant” reply and will try to boycott and picket Euroset retail outlets, as well as bring a criminal case against Okhlobystin.
Photo of Alexander Malis: TVRain.ru