British do-gooder Stephen Fry is not just an actor; he is, among many other things, a philanthropist, a comedian, a teddy bear collector, and a writer. He is also, as actress Emma Thompson puts it, “90 percent gay, 10 percent other.” Fry’s sexuality is no secret and hasn’t ever been one; his good deeds and philanthropy have often reflected this facet of his life, and has recently done so again. Stephen Fry released an open letter on his blog today, directed at David Cameron and the International Olympics Committee in regards to the 2013 Winter Olympics.
Russia’s anti-gay laws and their potential effects on the quickly approaching Olympics are not a new phenomenon; in fact, just yesterday, president Obama canceled a one-on-one meeting with Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin because of them. The effects of these actions by the Russian government have been numerous and loud; Stephen Fry’s open letter simply adds in another strong, eloquent voice to many.
Fry’s letter stands out above the rest by bringing to light the similarities between Russia’s current attitudes, laws, and actions towards the LGBTQAI+ community and those once practiced by Hitler’s Germany towards those of the Jewish faith. Fry goes on to claim that the beatings, brutality, murders, and other terrible happenings that go on, unreported and undocumented, closely mirror what happened to German Jews before they were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. It is for these gross human injustices that Fry calls for the International Olympic Committee to prevent the Olympics from occurring in Russia.
Fry’s letter is shocking, to say the very least; while it is worded with the sincerity and heart of a man who believes deeply in what he is saying, some have taken to criticizing the letter in very harsh ways, calling Fry a fraud and insensitive, self-righteous person. While the letter does have its flaws, the typical critiques given by angered masses seem to imply that Fry is unaware of what he is talking about and that he is wrong to make these comparisons. For those people, it is imperative that they be aware of this text taken from the letter:
“I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Every time in Russia (and it is constantly) a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian “correctively” raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.”
The letter is poignant and clear in its message, and will certainly impact any person who takes the few minutes needed to read it. Hopefully, those feelings might be enough to incite some sort of action that will lead not only to a moving of the Olympic games, but a change in the barbaric and cruel laws set in place by Russia. With that, the writer of this article wishes to end with these parting words in Fry’s letter; “In the end I believe you know when a thing is wrong or right. Please act on that instinct now.”