Miss Universe Organization Won’t be Boycotting Russia
Despite Andy Cohen dropping as co-host and 28,000 signatures asking to change the location of the event, the Miss Universe pageant will take place in Moscow, according to the organization.
The Donald Trump-owned company released a statement saying that while it is "deeply concerned by the laws recently enacted in Russia" as well as the "violence experienced by the LGBT community," the show will take place Nov. 9 as scheduled.
The Miss Universe Organization believes taking the event to Russia will have a bigger impact than boycotting it.
"It has been our experience that the Miss Universe pageant provides a forum through which contestants from more than 90 countries, as well as their families and friends, forge bonds with citizens of a host country, helping to serve as a catalyst for social change," part of the statement read.
Last week, Bravo host Andy Cohen said he wasn’t coming back as host for the beauty pageant because of Russia’s anti-gay laws.
"[T]heir discriminatory policies make it unsafe for the gays who live there and gays coming to work or visit," he told E! News. "The law is that anyone under suspicion of homosexuality can be arrested," he said, adding he "didn’t feel right as a gay man stepping foot into Russia."
Also, a New Jersey fan of the event put out an online petition asking the organization to boycott Russia. The petition got over 28,000 signatures in a very short time.
For her part, MUO President Paula Shugart told The Advocate that while the event will take place the safety for staff, crew, and attendees, was the pageant organization’s "number one" priority.