House actor stirs Russian anger with call for vodka boycott

British actor Hugh Laurie has prompted an outcry in Russia with a Twitter proposal to boycott vodka over President Vladimir Putin’s gay rights stance.

Laurie, who has more than 300 000 followers on Twitter, wrote on Saturday: “I’d boycott Russian goods if I could think of a single thing they made besides the rest of the world depressed.”

He then added: “Russian vodka is OK if you need to clean the oven. For drinking, it must henceforth be Polish.”

Laurie said he was reacting after reading Putin’s comments on Friday that gay people should “leave children alone”.

Russia has controversially banned homosexual “propaganda” to minors.

Laurie, who is best known as the brilliant but antisocial doctor Gregory House from hit TV series House, is very popular in Russia.

He swiftly retracted the comments, instead urging “good, kind Russians to stand up to the slab-faced goons who deal in this kind of poison”.

Hot topic
But his boycott suggestion became one of the most discussed topics on Russian-language Twitter.

“I want to officially send Hugh Laurie to hell along with his opinion of our goods and his plans to boycott them,” wrote popular blogger Ilya Varlamov.