Moscow pageant

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Trump's Moscow Pageant Served as PR Tool for Putin's Regime

6/16/13: Donald Trump announced that Miss Universe would hold its annual pageant in Moscow. “This year’s Miss Universe pageant will be held in Russia’s capital Moscow. Donald Trump made the announcement Sunday after the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas. He added that he would be moving Miss USA out of Las Vegas and to his golf resort in Miami for the next three years. Trump said 18 different countries were vying to host Miss Universe, set for Nov. 9. Miss Universe was held in Brazil in 2011, and there were talks of moving it to the Dominican Republic for 2012 before it was ultimately held in Las Vegas.” (Associated Press, June 17, 2013)

6/12/13 (four days earlier): Gay activists in Russia were attacked and arrested in Moscow as the Duma passed legislation criminalizing “homosexual propaganda.” “Gay activists were attacked and then arrested outside Russia's parliament yesterday as lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a bill that will ban ‘gay propaganda’ aimed at under-18s. The Duma passed the bill, which outlaws the ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations’, by 436 votes to zero, with one abstention. […]Gay-rights rallies and gay-pride marches have been banned in Russia as a matter of policy and the former Moscow Mayor famously referred to gay rallies as "a place for Satanists". Surveys frequently show that many Russians feel gay people should be "treated" and there are almost no openly gay public figures.” (London Independent, June 12, 2013)

  • 6/30/13: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law criminalizing gay propaganda that included penalties for foreigners, as Russian officials arrested dozens of participants in a St. Petersburg pride parade. “Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law fining people who propagate homosexuality to children, a day after dozens of people were detained after a gay-pride parade in St Petersburg. The law introduces fines of 4000 to 5000 roubles ($133 to $166) for individuals and 10 times those figures for public officials found guilty, while fines for individuals who use mass media or the internet to propagate homosexuality to minors rise to as much as 100,000 roubles. […] Foreigners charged under the law face administrative arrests for as long as 15 days and deportation.” (Sydney Morning Herald, July 1, 2013)

6/18/13: Russian press reported that gay and lesbian activists in New York’s Russian émigré community had begun advocating a boycott of the Russian Winter Olympics because of Russia’s harsh anti-gay laws. “A group of gays from Russia and the former Soviet republics living in the United States has a message for gay athletes and others planning to attend the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi: Don’t go. The group is calling for a boycott of the games, saying the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is not safe in Russia – and they hope even those who are not gay will support the ban. ‘LGBT people in Russia are scared, they live in fear, and we want people to be aware of the issue. If they feel strongly about human rights they should boycott the Olympics in Sochi,’ said Nina Long, co-president of RUSA LGBT, a Russian-speaking LGBT organization based in New York. ‘We really want the LGBT community to know it’s unsafe to travel there,’ she said in an interview with RIA Novosti.” (RIA Novosti, June 18, 2013)

Russian press reported that Trump called criticism of Russia’s anti-gay policies “absolutely groundless” and noted that the Miss Universe pageant would be seen worldwide as evidence that Russia could successfully host the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi. “At a press conference in Moscow before the contest finals, Trump said that his forecast came true. Last summer he said the Russian show would be the grandest, and it would be so. It would be the best, he believes. […] The Miss Universe contest in Russia is a good opportunity to show the country to the world before the Sochi Olympic Games. It will be broadcast to 175 countries, and more than 2,5 billion people will watch it. It is a good opportunity to demonstrate to the entire world on what high level the country can host such international events, Trump noted. Criticism against Russia about its intolerance toward gays is absolutely groundless, he stressed. There are many such people in the team, and all are welcomed. They do not feel uncomfortable, he said.” (ITAR-TASS, November 9, 2013)

In Moscow, Trump told Miss Universe’s openly gay host that he opposed same-sex marriage and claimed “perhaps we should have known and we didn’t” that Moscow had imposed draconian anti-gay policies. “Donald Trump has admitted his views on gay marriage are ‘evolving’, however, the property mogul claimed that he is still a strong supporter of traditional marriage between a man and woman. Speaking to openly gay MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts, the billionaire said that his views on the subject are different to what they were 10 years ago and pointed to President Obama coming out in support of same-sex marriage. In Moscow as the co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, Trump attended Saturday night’s pageant along with Roberts, who openly criticized Russia’s anti-gay laws. […] Indeed, the choice to hold the Miss Universe peageant in Moscow was not without controversy for Trump and NBC Universal which co-owns the event. Russia has draconian anti-gay laws which have seen the country come under heavy criticism, especially ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Many within the lesbian and gay communities have called for a boycott of the country, which has laws which enable the arrest of anyone who is openly gay. ‘Perhaps we should have known and we didn’t, and after we signed it became quite clear,’ Trump told Roberts. ‘We have a lot of gay people who work at Miss Universe, and we said, ‘What do you think?’ And they said, ‘We want to go. We want to show our stuff.’ For Roberts himself, being openly gay and co-hosting Miss Universe in Moscow was not without controversy.” (Mail Online, November 10, 2013)