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Wentworth Miller comes out in letter declining invite to Russian film festival

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   Aug. 21, 2013 at 7:50 PM   |   Comments

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Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Russia's recent string of anti-gay laws -- which include the prohibition of "propaganda" promoting homosexuality to minors -- have prompted vodka boycotts and sparked debates about whether the U.S. should pull out of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The crackdown on LGBT citizens has also prompted American actor Wentworth Miller to decline an invitation to the St. Petersburg International Film Festival, revealing that he's gay.

"As a gay man, I must decline," the 41-year-old former "Prison Break" star says in the letter.

"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 adds.

"Wentworth's bold show of support sends a powerful message to LGBT Russians, who are facing extreme violence and persecution: you are not alone," GLAAD rep Wilson Cruz said in a statement. "As people from across the globe continue to speak out against Russia's horrific law, more celebrities and corporations should follow his courageous lead in openly condemning Russia's anti-LGBT law."

Miller wrote 2013's "Stoker," starring Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode and Nicole Kidman.

Here's the full text of Miller's letter:

Maria Averbakh
Festival Director
St. Petersburg International Film Festival

c/o Elena Baranova
Right Magic Films Inc.
6715 Hollywood Blvd. Suite 210
LA, CA 90068

Re: St. Petersburg International Film Festival / "Guest of Honor" Invitation

Dear Ms. Averbakh:

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.

I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by
the Russian government. The situation is in no way acceptable, and 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.

Perhaps, when and if circumstances improve, I'll be free to make a different choice.

Until then.

Wentworth Miller
Member, HRC
Member, GLAAD
Member, The ManKind Project

cc. Tammara Billik, HRC
Megan Townsend, GLAAD
Seth Adam, GLAAD
Jennifer Allen, Viewpoint
Joanne Wiles, ICM Partners

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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