In a hateful rampage that is shocking even by the Kremlin’s standards, Russian state TV is railing against Black and LGBTQ+ athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics, blasting the Games as a cesspool of degradation, debauchery, and “impurity.”
“According to her passport, she is actually a woman. What this woman has been taking in order to look like this, God only knows,” Olga Skabeeva, host of the Kremlin-sponsored TV program 60 Minutes, said of Biles, who was the first to congratulate Russian gymnasts on their Olympic gold medals.
Skabeeva’s ugly tirade continued: “She supposedly has heart problems and therefore is gobbling up Meldonium and all kinds of other stuff… Now look at our gymnasts, they’re one-third her girth and actually look like girls! They also look like people, but Simone looks like devil knows what.”
The 60 Minutes host—who, in the same broadcast, suggested that the tropical storm swirling toward Japan is “God’s punishment” for allowing LGBTQ+ participants at the Olympics—is just one of an army of Kremlin loyalists engaged in a weeks-long media campaign against Black and trans Olympians.
“Historically, in the United States and Europe, sports were the pastime of white males, because why would a negro be jumping around in the ring, instead of picking cotton?” Alexei Naumov, of the Russian International Affairs Council, said on 60 Minutes last week. His rant included a point where he pondered out loud about whether Black people should be segregated into “Negro League” competitions, claiming “they run faster than whites.”
Discussing the inclusion of trans competitors in the evening broadcast of 60 Minutes the same day, military expert Igor Korotchenko fumed, “It’s a nasty sight. If those people want to compete, take them out somewhere out of bounds of the Olympic games, because it’s a disgrace for the Olympics. In ancient Greece, people of non-traditional sexual orientation weren’t allowed to participate. We need to protect the purity of the Olympic games.”
Naumov added, “Negroes also weren’t allowed,” to which another panelist replied with a resounding “Yes!” off-camera.
On Monday, political scientist Vladimir Kornilov weighed in with his own transphobic ramblings about the Games. “You could turn anyone into a woman and send them in to compete,” he said on 60 Minutes. “It’s all about inequality. We all know why the Williams sisters are winning. Everyone knows and understands.”
Kornilov proceeded to repeat a baseless insult made by Shamil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, in 2014, when he referred to tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams as “the Williams brothers.” Aggravated by the exclusion of some Russian sports figures for their use of the forbidden substance Meldonium in the weeks leading up to the Olympics, Kornilov claimed that other athletes, including trans participants, are “gaining advantage” due to their alleged use of “various hormones.”
Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s public objections against transgender athletes, which are aligned with the Kremlin, were picked up by TASS and painstakingly transcribed by RT on Saturday. Video clips of Trump’s comments were also aired by state media TV channels.
“No one will watch the Olympics because they allowed perverts to compete! This will be the end of the Olympics!” Russian lawmaker Aleksei Zhuravlyov angrily exclaimed on Monday’s 60 Minutes. “No wonder Trump is known as our guy. He’s just as emotional about transgenders as Aleksei Zhuravlyov,” host Olga Skabeeva said after airing a clip from Trump’s Arizona rally.
“They have special games for those bedraggled transgender women,” Skabeeva said, referring to the Gay Games, an LGBTQ sports event founded in the U.S. The host falsely claimed that “normal people aren’t allowed” there, “so why are we letting them in?” Alexei Naumov responded that in the West, “even people punished by God in such a way can still be included.”
And of course, no Kremlin-funded TV rant is complete without hurling a jab at the U.S., with Popov blaming Americans “for turning transgenders in sports into a fashionable issue.”
“Ancient Greeks are turning over in their graves because this is not the version of democracy they envisioned,” exclaimed panelist Spiridon Kilinkarov. “American democracy is where gays are marching in the streets and the minority is dictating its rules to the majority. This is propaganda of homosexuality.” Host Evgeny Popov surmised the perceived message to the masses: “Be gay and you too can be a champion.” “Thank God same-sex marriages are outlawed in our country,” Skabeeva rejoiced.
This outpouring of hatred hasn’t been limited to Russian pundits and TV personalities. Alexander Sherin, deputy chairman of a Russian parliament committee on defense, said last week on the state TV program Time Will Tell that the inclusion of transgender athletes “makes him want to vomit” and “should be condemned.” Host Anatoly Kuzichev surmised, “It’s indecent, nasty, disgusting, goes against nature and our culture.”
Tatiana Navka, the wife of Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, also added her voice to the chorus, publicly criticizing the routine of male gymnast Christopher Benitez and claiming the sport should be reserved exclusively for women. Last week, Peskov’s wife, who is herself an Olympic champion, posted a clip of Benitez’s 2019 performance to her 1.3 million followers on Instagram.
She wrote, “I am in a state of cultural shock... Do you think there is some way to unsee this?! I’m truly happy that there is no such thing in our country and, I hope, there never will be. The masculine will remain masculine, and the feminine will remain feminine! And my children will never see this and won’t consider it the norm.”
Last week, both hosts of the state TV program Time Will Tell claimed that the inclusion of transgenders and homosexuals will inevitably lead to the Olympic games becoming extinct.
“These are perhaps the last Olympic games ever,” declared co-host Olesya Loseva, “So be sure not to miss a unique chance to watch this historic event on Channel 1.”