New York, NY, August 14, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called on Alexey Sorokin, General Director of the 2018 Russia World Cup, to apologize for his statement comparing gay and lesbian people and “other ways of life” to Nazis. Sorokin’s comments are the latest manifestation of the growing demonization of the LGBT community in Russia, coming on the heels of regressive anti-gay legislation recently enacted into law.
In a letter to Sorokin, ADL expressed deep concern over the insensitive remarks he made in a recent interview after he was asked about Russia’s anti-gay legislation.
“Your effort to compare gay and lesbian people – who are themselves being targeted by Russia’s regressive laws – to the Nazis, whose plan to exterminate the Jewish people resulted in the brutal, systematic murder of millions of Jews and others during the Holocaust, is profoundly insensitive,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “This analogy trivializes the Holocaust. It is deeply offensive to Holocaust survivors and an insult to the memory of those who perished at the hands of the Nazis.”
In an interview with World Football INSIDER, Sorokin defended Russia’s anti-gay legislation by stating that “the Olympics and World Cup are not a stage for various views…. Not for Nazis, not for any other ways of life.”
Russia’s law, which criminalizes “the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” will be in effect at both the FIFA World Cup and the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, according to the Interior Ministry of Russia.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.