Star of Russian TV show comes out

An actor in a hit Russian show has come out as gay

An actor in one of Russia's most popular sitcoms has come out as gay.

The 30-year-old American actor Odin Lund Biron, who plays American intern Phil Richard in the medical sitcom Interny, came out this week in an interview with New York Magazine.

Although public reaction on social media has so far been muted, Biron's coming out was savagely criticised by his co-star Ivan Okhlobystin who once advocated that gay people should be burnt alive.

Okhlobystin tweeted that he was "cursing fate" after "learning that his friend Odin is a Sodomite" and added: "Some things are better not known. God preserve us from this devilry."

In a statement Biron said that he did not see himself as a political activist, but added: "But at a time when sexual minorities in Russia face greater adversity, both socially and legally, than at any time in recent memory, I feel compelled to use my unique platform to speak out. If my coming out publicly can give hope to anyone, or encourage them to do the same, then the sacrifice of my privacy is worth it."

Homosexuality is still seen as taboo in Russia where homophobic attacks are common and in 2013 the country passed a law banning gay "propaganda".