This Wednesday, actor and gay rights activist George Takei appeared on MSNBC’s Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell with a stark warning, claiming that allowing Russia to host the Winter Olympics would add legitimacy to a country that has enforced draconian anti-gay laws.
“There are athletes that are gay or lesbian and their supporters are gay or lesbian too, and they are being put in danger. And if something horrific happens — and it’s very likely given the kind of history of what’s been happening there — the responsibility is great,” Takei said during the interview.
The backlash against Russia has been growing in the wake of lawmakers approving a bill banning “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” back in June, making it a criminal offense. In addition, horrific accounts of Russian Neo-Nazi groups kidnapping and torturing gay teens have been surfacing online and in the media, with little reaction from Russian authorities.
“The [International Olympic Committee] is giving an international platform to Putin,” Takei went on to say. “We need to learn from history. In 1936, the Berlin Olympics happened. Three years before that, Hitler came to power and began his gradual campaign of horror against the Jewish people — and he got legitimacy throughout the world, and he got more power. He got that status and that’s precisely what we’re giving Putin with the Olympics being held there.”
Watch George Takei on MSNBC in the video below: