August 15, 2013 08:59:27 GMT
Cohen is concerned about his safety if he took the gig because Russia's 'discriminatory policies make it unsafe for the gays who live there and gays coming to work or visit.'
Miss Universe Organization has to work fast to find Andy Cohen's replacement for its upcoming pageant. The openly gay host, who hosted the competition in the last two years, tells his 2012 co-host Giuliana Rancic that he turned down a hosting gig for this year's pageant that will take place in Russia.
To the E! News anchor, Cohen says he rejected the offer due to safety concern since the country's "discriminatory policies make it unsafe for the gays who live there and gays coming to work or visit." He adds, "The law is that anyone under suspicion of homosexuality can be arrested," and he "didn't feel right as a gay man stepping foot into Russia."
This year's Miss Universe will take place in Moscow, Russia. It will be the first time for the country to host the pageant. A petition has been launched, urging the organization to move the competition out of the country, which recently implemented anti-gay laws that ban "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations around minors."
Lady GaGa was one of the celebrities who have spoken up against the controversial laws. "The Russian government is criminal," she tweeted earlier this month. "Oppression will be met with revolution. Russian LGBTs you are not alone. We will fight for your freedom...Why didn't you arrest me when you had the chance, Russia? Because you didn't want answer to the world?"
Figure skater Johnny Weir recently also opened up that he's afraid of being arrested if he made the team for the 2014 Olympics, which will be held in Sochi, but he refused to let it dampen his spirit to compete. "Like anyone, I'm afraid of being arrested, but also I'm not afraid of being arrested," he told CBS News.