MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts has covered Russia’s gay rights suppression from the comfy confines of MSNBC’s Rockefeller Plaza. That was until this week, when he arrived in Moscow to co-host the Miss Universe Pageant.
“The people that I’ve spoken to have encountered the biggest fears that I dreaded in coming out,” the openly gay anchor told TVNewser by phone this afternoon. “That was rejection. Rejection of your colleagues, rejection of your family, rejection of your peers…rejection of your country.”
Roberts, who arrived in Moscow Wednesday, interviewed Anton Krasovsky, a fellow gay journalist who was fired for coming out on the air on a Kremlin-backed TV station.
“It’s the sadness of knowing that they’ve taken a risk, and they’ve taken a chance putting their professional and personal lives on the line,” Roberts tells TVNewser. “While there is a bravery and a courage that comes out of being an integrated person, and accepting that your part of the LGBT community and sharing that with people — for the Russian people that I’ve talked to, it hasn’t come without severe consequence.”
Roberts highlighted the internal conflict journalists are experiencing: on one hand mourning what they’ve lost, while also feeling pride in “living their truth.”
Roberts has kept a digital diary on MSNBC.com, complete with Instagrams of reigning Miss Universe Olivia Culpo (above with Roberts) and her boyfriend Joe Jonas, as well as his co-host Mel B (right) who’s had Thomas in “tears, crying” — the good kind of tears.
Roberts urges viewers to tune in, as his co-host might cause him to have a laughing fit on air, where the “wheels are going to be off the bus big time.”
Personally, he’s had no issues during during his time in Moscow.
“The situation for me has been fine,” he says, adding, “I haven’t had any instances of hostility shown toward me. But that doesn’t mean discrimination here doesn’t exist, that violence doesn’t exist toward the LGBT community.”
“Miss Universe” airs on NBC Saturday night at 9pmET.