Ian McKellen says UK told him not to go to Russia

7:03 AM, Dec 10, 2013   |    comments
Sir Ian McKellen attends 'Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet' Broadway opening night at The Richard Rogers Theater on September 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
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LONDON (AP) - Actor Ian McKellen says the British government has advised him not to go to Russia because of the country's anti-gay "propaganda" law.

McKellen, known to millions as Gandalf in the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" films, told Radio Times magazine that the Foreign Office had informed him "they couldn't protect me from those laws."

The openly gay 74-year-old actor expressed disbelief that this was the case "in the land of Tchaikovsky, Diaghilev, Rudolf Nureyev - gay artists whose sexuality informed their work."

Russia has banned "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" aimed at anyone under 18. Penalties include fines and jail.

The Foreign Office said Tuesday that prospective travelers should decide whether to visit Russia based on its official advice, which notes "a degree of intolerance" of homosexuality in Russia.

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