UPDATE, 1 PM: On Today’s MSNBC Live, Thomas Roberts asked Miss Universe pageant co-owner Donald Trump asked if giving a thumbs up to his hosting gig, which is “professionally flying in the face of” Russian anti-gay laws, “change any of your prior public stances on marriage equality here in the U.S?”
“No, it doesn’t change,” Trump responded, adding that Roberts is “a wonderful guy.” Trump said he’s invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to the pageant, on November 9. “I know for a fact that he wants very much to come, but we’ll have to see. We haven’t heard yet, but we have invited him.”
PREVIOUS: NBC News landed itself a great angle on a big news story when MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts signed to co-host the Miss Universe Pageant in Russia next month, joining NBC’s America’s Got Talent judge/“Spice Girl” Mel B. Roberts. “Courage is contagious. I have felt that way since coming out publicly in 2006,” Roberts explains on MSNBC.com, saying he aggressively sought the gig. Roberts is replacing NBCU-owned Bravo’s Andy Cohen, who previously hosted the pageant but said he would not do so this time because of Russia’s recently passed anti-gay laws which left him concerned for his own safety and feeling that, as a gay man, he should not set foot in Russia. (The pageant is co-owned by NBC and Donald Trump’s organization.)
“Boycotting and vilifying from the outside is too easy,” Roberts wrote on MSNBC.com. “Rather, I choose to offer my support of the LGBT community in Russia by going to Moscow and hosting this event as a journalist, an anchor and a man who happens to be gay. Let people see I am no different than anyone else,” Roberts said, adding, “All kids — Russian, American or otherwise — need hope.” Russian laws, he wrote, “vaguely resembles ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ which this country “recently pitched…into the dust bin of American history… But we still have elected U.S. leaders rallying against marriage equality and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. History teaches us these political approaches hurt good kids and people everywhere — those who need hope, guidance, education, safe space and YES, LGBT role models,” he said. “I go to prove there’s hope.”
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