Latvia bans homophobic Russian actor’s one-man show

12885474794Ivan Okhlobystin, a Russian actor and former priest, has this week been denied permission to enter the Baltic state of Latvia where he planned to perform a one man show on the topic of Religion.

The news was announced by Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics who confirmed that Okhlobystin had been denied entry to the capital city of Riga because of his outspoken views on LGBT issues, which Latvian authorities view as hate speech.

In 2013 Okhlobystin rose to international attention after claiming that he would burn alive all gay people because they posed a ‘living danger to my children’. Despite his bigoted views the actor however remained in the public sphere and in January of this year Okhlobystin called for a nation-wide ban on ‘sodomy’, claiming that current anti-gay laws did not go far enough.

Earlier controversies included the actor running for President of Russia on a platform of ‘cleansing’ and ‘rebuilding’ Russia which included proposals to build an Iron Wall around the nation’s border.

News of Latvia’s decision not to give Okhlobystin was praised by many LGBT activists, who see the actor’s views as unacceptable. Many praised the Latvian authorities for refusing to give a platform for hate speech, which some see as signs of lowering tolerance for bigotry in the country.


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