SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — When two Russian men decided to walk through the streets of Moscow holding hands, they were laughed at, heckled, and physically pushed, according to The Independent.

The two men in the video, Artem Frantsuzov and Jay Babenko, are not actually gay but they held hands, to give the impression of being a couple.

ChebuRussianTV hid their camera in the backpack of the person walking in front of them and filmed the pair.

The public reaction was far from tolerant. Some laughed at the couple, others stared. One guy deliberately bumped into one of them, with a force that almost knocked him down.

Others yelled out insults — “Hey gays, there’s too much of you nowadays,” and “Leave Russia.”

The unfortunate social experiment was captured on video and has gone viral. So far, it has gotten more than 4,400,000 views on YouTube.

According to cameraman Nikita Rozhdestv, when a second man tried to physically assault Frantsuzov and Babenko, they stopped filming.

The hatred the men faced was not surprising given Russia’s anti-LGBT political climate. President Vladimir Putin signed an “anti-gay” law that was overwhelmingly passed by the Parliament in 2013. It banned literature and symbols that promote “non-traditional sexual relationships” and “gay propaganda.” Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $30,000.

The law has fueled fears gays would become the target of hate crimes.


CBSSF.com writer, producer Jan Mabry is also executive producer and host of The Bronze Report. She lives in Northern California. Follow her on Twitter @janmabr.

 

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