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Russian Music Channel Fined for 'Gay Propaganda' at Awards Show

fkirkorov / instagram

A Moscow court has fined a music video channel for “gay propaganda” after its awards show featured gender-flipping stars and what viewers said resembled a same-sex wedding, Russia’s independent Dozhd TV broadcaster reported Wednesday.

Russia’s media watchdog launched a probe over the June 2021 Muz-TV music awards where TikTokers and beauty bloggers walked the red carpet in women’s gowns and two male pop stars arrived together in black and white tuxedos and a flower-adorned convertible.

The authorities said the event was marked with a “6+” age restriction instead of the required “18+” and thus violated Russia’s controversial law banning “gay propaganda” toward minors.

Moscow's Basmanny district court fined Muz-TV 1 million rubles ($13,750), the maximum fine for the administrative penalty, the independent Dozhd broadcaster cited the court as saying Wednesday.

Though human rights activists and Western states criticize Russia's 2013 “gay propaganda” law, President Vladimir Putin’s socially conservative support base has largely supported it, with opinion polls showing entrenched anti-LGBT attitudes. 

The definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman is also enshrined in Russia’s Constitution following a nationwide vote on constitutional amendments in 2020.

The Muz-TV awards ceremony sparked controversy when beauty blogger Igor Sinyak walked the red carpet in a gown and one of Russia’s highest-paid TikTokers Danya Milokhin appeared in a half-dress, half-tuxedo. Sinyak reported receiving violent threats following the broadcast.

Meanwhile, viewers compared pop icon Filipp Kirkorov's arrival with rapper Dava in a convertible accompanied by shirtless bodybuilders to a "coming out" or a same-sex marriage ceremony.

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