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Russia Rejects Warwick Rowers Nude Calendar Likely Due to 'Gay Propaganda' Law

Wednesday Dec 6, 2017

The annual Warwick Rowers nude calendar won't be available in Russia, likely due to the country's controversy "gay propaganda" law, The Independent reports.

The 2018 edition of the naughty calendar, which has been published over the last nine years and features nearly-naked students from the University of Warwick in England, was apparently banned in Russia, where customs officials reportedly stopped it from being delivered, most likely because of the anti-gay law.

Angus Malcolm, the calendar's producer and photographer, told The Independent that customs officials rejected the team's efforts to ship the calendars to people who purchased it online in Russia. He said he'd not been told exactly why the calendar has been rejected, but that six out of the 23 copies ordered have been returned.

"My heart goes out to the rowers' Russian fans, who are increasingly subjected to acts of hatred and discrimination that shouldn't be tolerated in any society anywhere across the globe," Malcolm told The Independent. "The fact Russian customs rejected our calendar is nothing compared to the suffering some LGBT+ people face every day, but it acts as a signifier of the wider problem."

Proceeds from the calendar's sales are donated to Sports Allies, a U.K. advocacy group that works to curb homophobia and gender bias in team sports.

Malcolm had harsh words for Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he is promoting "precisely the kind of toxic masculinity that Sports Allies and the Warwick Rowers want to change.

"With the rise of Putin's brand of populism around the world, we have never needed straight allies like the Warwick Rowers more than we do now," he said. "If they can't cope with a few naked bums, then frankly that's quite sad."

"This is a bunch of straight men getting their kit off for LGBT rights," Malcolm later told The Independent.

A spokesperson for the Russian embassy in London told The Independent they were not aware of the case involving the Warwick Rowers' Calendar.

The U.K.'s The Times newspaper reports day after the calendars were rejected, the Warwick Rowers' official website was hit with a cyber attack and forced offline. The IP address connected to the attacker was reportedly traced to Russia.

Putin signed the "gay propaganda" into law in 2013. The vaguely worded measure bans everything from same-sex hand-holding to LGBTQ events. Those found guilty face fines for promoting "non-traditional sexual relations among minors."

Check out photos of the Warwick Rowers from the team's official Instagram below.

[H/T The Huffington Post]


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