George Takei Says 'Move Winter Olympic Games Out Of Russia'
NEW YORK, NY -- Appearing on MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell's 'The Last Word' Wednesday, Actor and LGBT activist George Takei repeated his call for the 2014 Winter Olympic games to be removed from Russia. Expressing doubts that LGBT athletes and fans would be safe in light of Russia’s harsh new anti-gay policies–and the news that those policies would be enforced on athletes and spectators at Sochi, Takei said, “Given this position, the IOC must do the right thing, protect its athletes and the fans, and move the 2014 Winter Olympics out of Russia."
Takei told O’Donnell that holding the games in Russia would “besmirch the Olympics name as well as all the corporate [sponsors].”
As Russia comes under heavy criticism over the draconian measures taken against its LGBT community in the past several years including recent passage of the anti-gay "propaganda" law, some in the international community have argued that moving the games would be too harsh of a measure. Takei disagrees, writing in a blog entry Tuesday;
“Would this be their opinion if the law instead called for the arrest of any Jews, Roman Catholics or Muslims should they display any sign of their religion, such as a wearing a yarmulke or praying while facing Mecca?” Takei added, “Discrimination in any form is a blight upon the Winter Games, and it must not be tolerated.”
Takei is also promoting a petition which would move the 2014 Winter Olympics to Vancouver, where they were held in 2010, and where many facilities are still in operation. By Wednesday afternoon, 56,000 people had signed it.
“This is a situation of good vs. evil. It is evil that is happening there, and we must not play into Putin’s game,” Takei said.