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James Kirchick: 'Russian TV Told Taxi To Dump Me On The Highway'

22/08/2013 12:54 BST | Updated 22/08/2013 14:13 BST
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A reporter who was removed from Russian TV for protesting Russia's recent passing of anti-gay propaganda law has claimed the station tried to get a taxi to dump him on a highway after leaving the TV studio.

James Kirchick, who writes for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, took to Twitter to reveal his ordeal after he was kicked off air.

He claims the station attempted to revoke his car service, telling the taxi he was riding in to dump him on the side of the highway.

He tweeted: "True fact: @RT_com just called taxi company that took me to studio to drop me off on the side of the highway on way to Stockholm airport."

He added the cab company refused to comply and instead took him to the airport for free.

RT today told HuffPost it was "rather surprising" the journalist had expected the station to pay for his taxi ride in the first place, after "attempting to sabotage RT’s broadcast."

"Mr. Kirchick was invited to appear on RT’s panel as author of article “Bradley Manning gets off easy,” in order to contribute to RT’s discussion of the Bradley Manning verdict – obviously the major international news event," a statement read.

"Mr. Kirchick decided to instead use this time to express his opinion on LGBT rights, a matter which, while important, was entirely unrelated to the subject of the panel. Regretfully, RT had no other recourse but to continue the discussion without him."

"Regarding Mr. Kirchick’s transportation: Per Mr. Kirchick's own subsequent statements apparently nobody actually tried to 'drop [him] off on the side of the road' and in fact he enjoyed a free and pleasant ride to his destination.

"But it's rather surprising that he expected us to pay for his taxi ride in the first place, after attempting to sabotage RT’s broadcast."

The journalist had been booked to appear on a news segment to discuss the sentencing of Private Bradley Manning.

However, the correspondent used his time on the show to protest against Russia’s draconian anti-gay legislation that has drawn international condemnation in recent weeks.

"When evil shows its face you have to answer," Kirchick said, quoting playwright Harvey Fierstein, before revealing his true intentions to the show's anchors.

Strapping on rainbow suspenders he then took aim at Russia's recent anti-gay law banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations."

"Being here on a Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I'm going to wear my gay pride suspenders and I'm going to speak out against the horrific anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin has signed into law," he said, adding that the law "effectively makes it illegal to talk about homosexuality in public."

As RT anchor Yulia Shapovalova awkwardly cut in: "Yes, James, of course we'll discuss it later, but what about Bradley Manning?"

"I'm not really interested in talking about Bradley Manning." Kirchick shot back. "I'm interested in talking about the horrific environment of homophobia in Russia right now."

Russian TV have been contacted for comment.