Actor and screenwriter Wentworth Miller, best known for his leading role in Fox television drama “Prison Break,” came out as a gay man on Wednesday in a letter declining an invitation to attend a Russian film festival in light of Moscow’s recently adopted anti-gay laws.
Miller, 41, turned down an offer to attend the St. Petersburg International Film Festival as a “guest of honor” in a letter posted on the website of advocacy group GLAAD, which monitors media representation of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people and issues.
In response to an invitation to appear as guest of honor at next month’s St. Petersburg International Film Festival, Miller stated that “as a gay man, I must decline.” The 41-year-old went on to criticize the Russian government for its “current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women,” saying that he was “deeply troubled” by it.
“I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly,” he said.
Miller’s voice is just one in a growing chorus of critics to speak out against Russia for its series of recently enacted anti-gay laws, the most contentious of which bans “propaganda of a nontraditional sexual relation among minors.” Protests and demands for boycotting Russian commodities have swept cities worldwide, as reports of escalating violence against LGBT Russians continue to unfold. The laws also raise concerns for the safety and security of the thousands heading to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Games, which many are also calling on others to boycott.
Beyond the Olympics, Russia’s laws also raise questions for other events set to be held in the country, such as the IIHF World Championship in 2016, and this year’s Miss Universe pageant, which TV host Andy Cohen said last week said he would not be co-hosting. “[I] didn’t feel right as a gay man stepping in Russia,” said Cohen to E! News.