F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone: ‘I completely agree’ with Putin’s anti-gay legislation
Russia’s anti-gay legislation has been a major point in international criticism levied at Vladimir Putin’s government before and throughout the Sochi Olympics.
But Putin’s general stance against homosexuality and Russia’s law prohibiting the proliferation of so-called “gay propaganda” to minors has the support of at least one prominent sports figure: Formula 1 president and CEO Bernie Ecclestone.
In an interview with CNN, Ecclestone argued that Putin’s views on homosexuality have been misconstrued, adding that he “completely agrees” with the Russian president’s policies.
“He hasn’t said he doesn’t agree (with homosexuality) just that he doesn’t want these things publicized to an audience under the age of 18,” said Ecclestone, arguing critics had misrepresented Putin.
“I completely agree with those sentiments and if you took a world census you’d find 90% of the world agree with it as well,” added the 83-year-old, who oversees one of the world’s most lucrative sports.
Critics of Russian anti-gay laws have vociferously argued that besides being discriminatory, the laws do not reflect the values of the Olympics movement. Protests have taken place around the world.
Ecclestone, the billionaire British boss of Formula 1 racing, is no stranger to controversy. He will soon be on trial in Germany for allegedly making improper payments to an individual who helped sell F1 in 2006. Ecclestone denies any wrongdoing.
Sochi will host the debut of the new Russian Grand Prix this October.