(New York, NY) – The recent homophobic attack against a Belarusian filmmaker is a heinous attempt to silence artistic and minority voices, PEN America said in a statement today. Kolya Kuprich was targeted after he defended several colleagues working on his in-progress documentary, Pussy Boys, about the Minsk’s LGBTQI+ community.

“Kolya’s face was smashed into the pavement, resulting in a broken nose and jaw and missing teeth. This is a deplorable act of homophobia,” said Julie Trebault, Director of the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC). “Kolya was standing up against the very prejudices he seeks to portray in his film. PEN America condemns such blatant acts of hatred, and urges Belarus to take action to safeguard the right of all its citizens to express themselves freely and live without fear of repercussions.”

PEN America leads the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), a program dedicated to assisting imperiled artists and fortifying the field of organizations that support them. Kuprich is a member of Belarus Free Theater, which sits on ARC’s Advisory Committee. If you or someone you know is an artist at risk, contact ARC here.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. pen.org

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, sfee@pen.org, +1 202 309 8892