Out celebrity Andy Cohen has resigned as co-host of the 2013 Miss Universe competition, scheduled to be held Nov. 9 in Moscow. Miss Universe pageant will be missing one familiar face this year.
Cohen, the first openly gay host of an American late-night talk show – Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” – hosted the 2011 and 2012 pageants and was booked to return this year.
But he told Giuliana Rancic, his pageant co-host of the past two years, that he fears for his safety in Russia, which has criminalized gay behavior as well as public support for gay rights.
He told Rancic, who’s also a reporter for E! News, “The law is that anyone under suspicion of homosexuality can be arrested.”
Donald Trump, who owns the pageant, has yet to comment on Russia’s controversial new law, which America’s Christian right has embraced and celebrated. Trump, a perennial would-be Republican presidential candidate, would lose any chance of winning a GOP presidential primary race if he spoke out against the law or against the wave of anti-gay violence sweeping the former Soviet bloc nations.
A change.org petition urges Trump and the pageant to move the site of this year’s event.