Andy Cohen, star of Bravo’s Watch What Happens, has hosted the Miss Universe competition for the past few years, but he has announced that he refuses to this year because it’s being held in Russia. It’s Russia’s first time hosting the pageant, but Cohen told E! News that the country’s laws banning “gay propaganda” makes it unsafe:
COHEN: Their discriminatory policies make it unsafe for the gays who live there and gays coming to work or visit… The law is that anyone under suspicion of homosexuality can be arrested. [I don’t] feel right as a gay man stepping foot into Russia.
Russia’s laws have created huge concern for all international activities scheduled to take place there, including next year’s Winter Olympics as well as the 2018 World Cup. The Miss Universe pageant is no exception; a Change.org petition calling on the Miss Universe Organization to move the event already has over 23,000 signatures.