High life

Taki: Stephen Fry and the gay lobby should cool it over the Winter Olympics

31 August 2013

9:00 AM

31 August 2013

9:00 AM


I’ve met Stephen Fry twice in my life, both times long ago. The first time at a dinner given by the then editor of The Spectator, Dominic Lawson, in London, and the second time in a restaurant in New York with the writers Jay McInerney and Brett Easton Ellis. The first time I was completely out of it, the second he was, hence we didn’t exactly connect. Fry has been in the news lately for demanding a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. His beef is Russian anti-gay legislation. Now there’s a hell of a lot of things that are wrong with Russia — first and foremost all the criminal-oligarchs are abroad instead of in jail — but anti-gay legislation is on the bottom of the pile.

Let’s start with the hypocrisy of the bleating. When Qatar was awarded the 2022 Football World Cup, I didn’t hear Stephen Fry or the gay lobbies in Britain and America make a sound. Perhaps I was hard of hearing that particular day, but I remember thinking how money will keep them quiet every time. Homosexuality is legal in Russia but illegal in the sandy hellhole that is the property of the Thani family. Ditto in Dubai. How come gay activists don’t show up at, say, Ascot in June and throw yoghurt at the ruling family, which parades itself around the grounds in full view of the Queen, with upper-class Englishmen bowing and scraping in its wake? The reason they don’t is that the Dubai ruling family has lotsa scratch, and Qatar’s owners even more. Putin and Russia haven’t got that kind of moolah because nice guys like Abramovich have removed it abroad. Hypocrisy may not be as bad as murder, but it’s pretty lousy in my book. And selective hypocrisy is even worse.

Eighty-eight per cent of Russians support the ban on gay propaganda for schoolkids. If Americans or Brits were allowed to vote on this subject, my guess is it would be around 75 per cent in favour of the ban. The gay lobby of course would eat alive (pun unintended) any politician who tried to run such a poll. When Pat Buchanan and the magazine he and I started back in 2003 published the fact that only 2 per cent of America was gay — the popular conception, aided and abetted by Hollywood, the fashion industry and the gay lobby, was 20 per cent — they threw everything but a rubber dildo at us, but Pat lives next to the CIA headquarters in Langley, hence he’s hard to hit, and I was abroad living the good life on my yacht. Even harder to find.

Unlike the old anti-Semitic line, I have some very good gay friends, most of whom scoff at gay marriage and the latest rigmarole about banning Stolichnaya in the States. The gay lobby didn’t do its homework on this one. The Stoli we drink is distilled in Latvia and owned by the group based in Luxembourg. Boycotts don’t usually work, and vodka boycotts are ridiculous. Polls also show that two thirds of Russians consider homosexuality unacceptable, sort of on the same level western attitudes were 30 years ago.

What angers me is the selectivity of it all. When I was on the tennis circuit 50 years or so ago, many of the females on it were gay. I am not going to name names because the ladies involved have not chosen to come out. Every one of the male players respected them equally to those who were heterosexual. Two of them won Wimbledon and no one mentioned their sex lives. In fact I’d say from the 1940s until the 1970s, when Navratilova came out, four or five great champions were gay. Poor Bill Tilden, one of the greatest of all champions, kept being thrown in the clink for doing it with men, some said boys, so I’ll stay away from his case. A Colombia player of my time, who later became a big shot in Spanish tennis, was always trying to jump on good-looking men players in the locker room, yours truly included, and all we did was shoo him away. He went quietly. No big deal. The most elegant player of all time was Baron Gottfried von Cramm, a three-time Wimbledon finalist, and the Nazis put him in jail for homosexuality. I played with him many times after he had retired, and knowing my propensity for girls he never even took a peak in the shower. Perhaps I wasn’t his type, although I’ve been told I was rather cute back then.

What the gay lobby should do is cool it. And play it straight, pun intended. If it boycotts Russian vodka and the Russian Olympics, it should also boycott every Arab nation, starting with Qatar, Dubai and the rest of the kleptocracies of the Gulf. Qatar has financed the Syrian revolution and is responsible for the hundred thousand dead that have resulted. Qatar has blood on its hands by paying protection money to the Islamists and al-Qa’eda, one and the same as far as I’m concerned. It’s just like the EU and the Brussels gang. They encouraged Muslims to come in and settle, and now the Muslims are about (in ten years) to become a majority and they will demand sharia law. What will the EU gang do then? No more drinks, no more bikinis, no more nuthin’. As a Muslim preacher in Brussels recently said, ‘Well, you can always marry four times like we do and produce lotsa kids.’ Unlike young Taki, not so cute.

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  • dtnorth

    Whilst Russian gay kids are beaten to death whilst the police look on we will not “cool it”.

  • Fritz123

    “Qatar has financed the Syrian revolution and is responsible for the hundred thousand dead that have resulted.” Bomb Riad.

  • Brommers

    The argument that Russia is not as bad as Qatar and therefore is ok, is a pretty shoddy one. The facts are that the anti-gays laws and attitudes displayed by Russia are inhumane and wrong on every level – whether they are popular or not. Just because something is popular, it doesn’t make it correct.

    Perhaps we will see the Gay lobby start to take on ‘Qatar, Dubai and the rest of the kleptocracies of the Gulf’, but surely since the Sotchi Olympics are taking place next year, it’s a more pressing issue than the 2022 Football World Cup?

    Instead of criticising those who seek to call out and address the disgusting treatment of our fellow human beings by inhumane law-makers across the world, why don’t you try doing something positive and take on the kleptocracies? Especially since someone has given you this privileged platform from which to spout your opinions.

    Finally: ‘If Americans or Brits were allowed to vote on this subject, my guess is it would be around 75 per cent in favour of the ban.’ Well, since it’s a guess, this is a completely worthless statement and doesn’t prove anything. Why not look up some actual data on attitudes towards homosexuals? Perhaps you were worried the evidence wouldn’t support your guess. Not exactly top drawer journalism…