American actor Odin Biron – one of Russia’s biggest television stars – has come out as gay in an interview and it has split the Russian people’s opinion.
In an interview with Vulture magazine, Odin Biron decided it was finally time to come out as gay, though there may be huge consequences for his successful career in Russia.
Biron – originally from Minnesota – plays a lovable and naive American doctor on Russia’s answer to Scrubs, entitled Interns, that has a 3.7 million viewership. Though Russia’s opinion of America is exceedingly low – 71% have a negative opinion of the country – Biron has become popular with the Russian viewers since he debuted on Interns.
In a statement, Biron said he does not see himself as an activist but “if my coming out publicly can give hope to anyone, or encourage them to do the same, then the sacrifice of my privacy is worth it.” He hopes to come out and to use his celebrity status “to make this count.”
“The more likable people who say they are gay, the better gays will begin to be treated,” says Anton Krasovsky, a Russian journalist and gay-rights activist.
Though Biron says he’s never felt personally threatened by homophobia in Russia, it was mostly the passing of Russia’s “gay propaganda” law that prompted him to start thinking about returning to America.
Biron’s co-star Ivan Okhlobystin is an anti-gay, anti-American former Orthodox priest with whom Biron never had a problem. However, Okhlobystin made headlines last year for stating that gays should all be burned in an oven.
“He’s been sweet with me. He’ll say, ‘Odin, I’m gonna bomb the crap out of America, but I’m gonna save Minnesota because of you,’” Biron says of Okhlobystin.
See the Twitter reactions below:
Biron’s co-star Okhlobystin:
Быков никогда не узнает, что Фил извращенец. А Охлобыстин, когда узнал, что его друг Один содомит, бился башкой от стену и клял судьбу.
— Иван Охлобыстин (@PsykerO1477) February 10, 2015
“Bykov will never know that Phil is a pervert,” he wrote, referring to his character,”But Okhlobystin, when he learned that his friend Odin is a sodomite, banged his head against the wall and cursed fate.”
@NOH8Campaign woohoo my gaydar felt it!
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