Campaign of Hate

Gay porn superstar’s documentary offers a look at LGBT life in Russia

By David-Elijah Nahmod - April 23, 2015

Photos courtesy of Jeff Dorta.

While Michael Lucas might be better known for his work in the adult film industry, it’s his documentaries that are earning him global notoriety.

Those who hesitate to take Lucas’ filmmaking seriously due to his gay porn superstardom might want to think again: He is a superb interviewer who asks his subjects tough and intelligent questions.

In his most recent project, Campaign of Hate: Russia & Gay Propaganda, Lucas offers a chilling look at the anti-gay horrors currently being perpetrated by the Vladimir Putin regime in Russia.

In this feature-length documentary, Lucas puts a face on the besieged LGBT community in Russia and exposes the magnitude of the problem. His work in here is as good, if not better, than anything that might air on CNN.

Interviewees include lesbian journalist Masha Gessen, who lived in Russia with her partner and their two children. The kids talk on camera, expressing their deep sadness and bewilderment that anyone would be against the loving family they’re a part of.

Gessen, who has reported bravely from the front lines of war zones, is suddenly fearful because Putin wants to take children away from LGBT-identified parents. Gessen states on camera that the family may move to New York so that they can stay together. (Lucas verified to Echo that this has since occurred.)

“More than half the people I interviewed have left Russia and are now living in America, including Masha Gessen,” Lucas said. “They were the only openly gay family in Russia and became a target.”

Photo courtesy of Jeff Dorta.

While some community members want to flee the country, others are determined to stay and fight. A small but hearty band of gay men and lesbians stage a kiss-in on a city street, and are promptly beaten while the police look the other way. Later, an LGBT film festival receives bomb threats.

A number of victims share stories of being beaten on the street as pedestrians walk idly by while the police look the other way.

“It’s unusual not to have been gay bashed,” states one young man in the film.

Lucas shows great courage, strength, and restraint during a sit-down interview with Vitaly Milonov, a Russian lawmaker who uses words like “sick” and “filthy,” to describe LGBT people.

“The guy loves to be on camera,” Lucas said, regarding Milonov agreeing to appear in a pro-gay film. “He became very well known because of this topic and has made a career from it. I don’t think that he and his office did a very thorough background check. So I guess as far as he was concerned it was just another outlet for them to spew their anti-gay propaganda.”

According to Lucas, this all began with the passing of Russia’s “gay propaganda” law in June 2013 which makes it a criminal offense to present homosexuality in a positive light to anyone under age 18.

Lucas added that, not only was his trip to Russia dangerous, Campaign of Hate will not be shown in Russia.

“Going to Russia in general is not very safe,” he said. “Of course when you go to film politicians about gay people it gets dangerous. ”

Ultimately, Lucas gives audiences an international perspective on the modern-day LGBT movement. Campaign of Hate: Russia & Gay Propaganda is now available on DVD and iTunes.

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