Wentworth Miller snubs Russian festival over anti-gay laws

Actor and screenwriter Wentworth Miller, best known for his leading role in Fox television drama Prison Break, sent a letter on Wednesday declining an invitation to attend a Russian film festival after Moscow recently adopted anti-gay laws.

Miller (41) turned down an offer to attend the St Petersburg International Film Festival as a "guest of honour" in a letter posted on the website of advocacy group Glaad (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), which monitors media representation of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people and issues.

"Thank you for your kind invitation. As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes. However, as a gay man, I must decline," Miller wrote to festival director Maria Averbakh.

Miller wrote that he was "deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government," and did not want attend a festival in a country where "people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly".

Russia's Parliament banned the spread of gay "propaganda" among minors in a law passed in June, which includes imposing fines on those holding gay pride rallies, has attracted international condemnation.

'Stepping foot into Russia'
Miller, who played incarcerated structural engineer Michael Scofield in Prison Break from 2005 to 2009, has recently turned his hand at screenwriting, penning the script for this year's dark thriller Stoker, starring Nicole Kidman.

Miller's letter comes after Bravo channel host and executive producer Andy Cohen told E! News last week that he would not be co-hosting Donald Trump's Miss Universe pageant this year in Moscow because he "didn't feel right as a gay man stepping foot into Russia". – Reuters

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