Andy Cohen Won't Host Miss Universe Over Russia's Anti-Gay Laws
Openly gay television personality Andy Cohen turned down a gig to host the 2013 Miss Universe pageant because he is "concerned for his safety," reports E! Online. He co-hosted the pageant for the past two years.
This year's Miss Universe pageant is scheduled to be held at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow, Russia, on Nov. 9, 2013 — but Bravo's Andy Cohen won't be there because of the country's anti-gay laws.
"The law is that anyone under suspicion of homosexuality can be arrested," he told E! Online, adding that he "didn't feel right as a gay man stepping foot into Russia."
Cohen is the host of Watch What Happens Live, and in 2012 he became the executive vice president of development and talent at the Bravo cable television network, which is a subsidiary of NBCUniversal.
Cohen hosted the Miss USA 2011 and 2012 pageants, and he co-hosted the Miss Universe 2011 pageant in São Paulo, Brazil, and Miss Universe 2012 in Las Vegas.
Miss Universe was founded in 1952 and is run by Miss Universe Organization. It was acquired by Donald Trump in 1996, who co-owns the pageant with NBC.
A Change.org petition has been started to move the Miss Universe pageant from Russia and currently has more than 20,000 supporters.