It’s not prejudice if a law targets everyone—though that probably isn’t why Russian internet service providers are preventing users from accessing Canadian Olympian bobsledder Justin Kripps’ personal website.
According to Gay Star News, a picture of him and several teammates, all topless, went viral “for obvious reasons” in January; their bushy beards had blogger Andrew Sullivan declaring them the “beards of the week,” and led to Kripps taking up the hashtag #beardmode.
However, the sudden increase in fame apparently came with a price, at least during his stay in Russia. After trying to access his website, which he uses to share his thoughts with fans and keep them updated, he discovered it was blocked.
Kripps, who is straight, tweeted on February 6,
— Justin Kripps (@justinkripps) February 7, 2014
GSN reported that the text in the screenshot informs users that their access to the website is blocked, and gives possible reasons why—legal issues, copyright infringement, or “because the source spreads information prohibited in the Russian Federation and law.”
Though it’s entirely feasible that the photo of Kripps and his team shirtless were deemed too homoerotic for Russian sensibilities, there could also be a more obvious reason. Kripps’ website includes an automatically-updated Twitter feed.
On February 6, he retweeted a link to the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion’s ad “The Games Have Always Been A Little Gay,” which showcases a two-man team of lugers getting ready to hurtle down the track—to the tune of “Don’t You Want Me Baby.”