The latest from Russian-Jewish journalist Masha Gessen in the New York Times, following an outing of a famous Russian entertainment television channel host
A man who works for the media is outed for having had gay sex, causing an uproar. Critics of the outing far outnumber its supporters, and the post is soon taken down. This describes what happened recently in New York, where the site Gawker exposed a male media executive’s relationship with a male sex worker. The description also fits a series of recent events in Moscow. The similarity of the two storylines is as striking as is the difference in contexts.
On July 24, a young man who hosts a show on a Russian entertainment television channel posted a picture on Instagram with a seemingly unremarkable caption: “Girls wield some sort of magic power over us guys, making them able to get us to do whatever they want.”
Shortly afterward, Kseniya Sobchak, one of the country’s best-known TV journalists — who in recent years has abandoned the Putin establishment in favor of the protest culture — linked to the young man’s post on her own Instagram account, and wrote: “This post is a vivid illustration of why it is so important to foster tolerant attitudes toward sexual minorities.”
Ms. Sobchak went on to explain that the TV host was a fixture of Moscow’s gay party circuit and had been in a relationship with a prominent executive in the pro-Kremlin media. “He is compelled to write these humiliating posts about female attention because he knows that if he comes out, he will be fired.”