MOSCOW, March 17 (RAPSI, Saria Kiut) - Moscow's Tushinsky District Court on Monday rejected a defamation lawsuit filed by LGBT activist Nikolay Bayev against popular actor and showman Ivan Okhlobystin, RAPSI reports from the courtroom.
In the lawsuit, Bayev demanded a payment of 30,000 rubles ($819) as compensation for moral distress caused by the actor's "homophobic rant." On his Facebook page, Bayev clarified that he sued Okhlobystin, the star of Russia's version of “Scrubs,” for saying that "gays should be burned alive in ovens."
According to the media, the flamboyant actor made the controversial statement during a meeting with his fans in Novosibirsk. Shortly after it became public and controversy in the social media intensified, Okhlobystin publicly refused to apologize and published an open letter in which he called on Vladimir Putin to reinstate criminal liability for sodomy.
Okhlobystin, 47, starred in some 50 film projects before his current project, medical sitcom “Interns,” which was Russia's most popular television show of 2012, according to pollster VTsIOM. He is a former Orthodox Christian priest, science fiction writer and public speaker.
In 2012, a law on “gay propaganda” first entered into force in St. Petersburg. The law was sharply criticized by the LGBT community and rights activists in Russia and abroad, but was later developed into a federal law and passed by the State Duma on June 30, 2013.