Russian actor banned from entering Latvia for homophobic comments

Ivan Okhlobystin
RIA/Scanpix

Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics tweeted Friday night that Ivan Okhlobystin — who was due to give a one-man show about religion in Riga on 7 November — would not be allowed to enter the country because of remarks deemed to constitute “ethnic hatred”. Rinkevics later added that the entry ban was based on the actor’s offensive statements about the LGBT community.

In December 2013, Okhlobystin said that all homosexuals should be burned alive because they represent a “living danger” to his children. In January, he addressed an open letter to President Vladimir Putin, requesting the return of a Soviet-era law on the criminalization of homosexuality.

While a number of Latvian politicians endorsed Rinkevics’ decision to ban the Russian actor from the country, Riga’s Mayor Nils Usakovs, whose party fosters ties with Russia’s ruling United Russia party, said he was “very ashamed” for Rinkevics.

Okhlobystin last week suggested that some victims of the Ebola virus were turning into zombies, explaining that he had heard of many cases in which those who died from the virus were mysteriously resurrected several days later. He added that he was not joking and had purchased a crossbow “just in case”.

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