In an article headlined "Gays We Respect," the Russian edition of men's magazine Maxim has "forgiven" a list of famous actors, authors and musicians for their sexual orientation.
"We, men, do not consider men who love men to be men. This is the rule," the introduction to the post reads. "But there are exceptions. There are gays who have earned our respect and the right to remain real men in our eyes."
"Gays We Respect"
These "exceptions" include actors Ian McKellen and Neil Patrick Harris, who the magazine has "forgiven" for their sexual orientation due to their onscreen roles.
"We weren't sure about including Neil Patrick Harris in the list — after all, he declared himself a 'happy gay' in 2006. But his performance as Barney Stinson in the series How I Met Your Mother hasn't left us indifferent," the article reads. "It's impossible not to respect someone who elevated the hunt for girls into a true art, who systematized all the tricks and techniques and created the 'Bro Code.' Even if he was just acting the role. But how he acted!"
As the lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury "brought us so much joy, we are ready to forgive him anything," the magazine continues.
Rob Halford of Judas Priest is evidence that "if you're cool enough, it doesn't matter what your orientation is." British comedian Stephen Fry is presented as "the living embodiment of the idea that one can be openly gay and a sensible person at the same time."
Readers criticized the list in the article's comments section and on Twitter.
"I, a person, do not consider those who think men who love men are not men to be people. And there are no exceptions."
"These gays must be pissing boiling water over the fact that they EARNED your respect, you little yellow newsrag."
An editor at Maxim's Russian edition told BuzzFeed News Nov. 26 "our position is clearly formulated in the introduction to the article." Alexander Malenkov, the editor-in-chief of the Russian edition of Maxim, told the Russian News Service Nov. 30, "This is a joke article. It says so in it."
Nowhere in the text is it made clear that the article is meant to be a parody. The magazine has updated the post with a link added to the introduction, placed on the word "gays," which leads to an article from 2013 about homosexuality.
"Gays, homosexuals, sodomites, buggers — what don't the Russian people call these amusing, strange creatures?" reads the introduction to the linked article. "Where did they come from, why are they like this and is it true that gays are reproducing with the help of tolerance?"
Russia enacted a law against "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" to minors in 2013.
"We are deeply disturbed by the article in Maxim Russia and fully condemn it," a spokesperson for Maxim told BuzzFeed News by e-mail. "It is entirely against the views of U.S. Maxim."
Maxim is owned by Biglari Holdings, but the Russian edition is published by Hearst Shkulev Media, a Russian joint venture of Hearst's international magazines division that also publishes the Russian editions of Marie Claire and Elle.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Hearst and Hearst Shkulev Media for comment.
An editor at Maxim's Russian edition told BuzzFeed News "our position is clearly formulated in the introduction to the article." A previous version of this post attributed this comment to the editor-in-chief.