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Andy Cohen Blasts Back at Russia, Boycotts Miss Universe Pageant

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Andy Cohen (Getty Images)

Even as some Hollywood players remain silent on the topic of Russia's recently implemented and exceedingly harsh anti-gay laws, Andy Cohen is speaking up, both with his actions and his words.

The host of "Watch What Happens Live," who has co-hosted the Miss Universe pageant for the last two years, announced that he will not be returning this time around.

In a chat with E! News's Giuliana Rancic — who has been Andy's co-host for the last two years — the openly gay Bravo exec explained that he turned down the event, scheduled for November 9 at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow, because Putin's "discriminatory policies make it unsafe for the gays who live there and the gays coming to work or visit."

He certainly has a point. Just a few weeks ago, the Russian government passed a law banning gay "propaganda," which essentially means that anyone showing any signs of pro-gay support can be arrested. Basically, you better keep your mouth shut, or else.

"The law is that anyone under suspicion of homosexuality can be arrested," Cohen lamented to Rancic before adding, "[I] didn't feel right as a gay man stepping foot into Russia." And we can't blame him.

At least he's not alone in his fight. Many others have called for a boycott of the pageant, including Francesco Pascuzzi, a gay fan from New Jersey who has spearheaded a petition urging the Miss Universe Organization to relocate from the restrictive country. To date, he has gathered more than 20,000 signatures on Change.org.

And while there is no doubt that Cohen is in good company with his sentiments about Russia's human rights backslide, it remains to be seen whether the international community will challenge the behemoth world power in any meaningful way. With calls for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics rising up, however, we're sure to get our answer soon.

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