Lord Browne at Hay Festival: Send gay employees to Russia to change attitudes, says fracking firm boss


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The Independent Online

The chairman of controversial fracking firm Cuadrilla has called on British businesses to send gay employees to Russia in an attempt to change that country’s attitude on homosexuality.

Lord Browne, who was the chief executive of BP for 12 years until he was forced to stand down in 2007 after being publically ‘outed’ as gay by a Sunday newspaper, said British firms had a unique opportunity to change public opinion in countries where homosexuality is illegal.

“Should BP send gay people into Russia? I think yes you could do that,” said Lord Browne, 66. “Provided that you are very aware you are sending them into a place of extreme risk.”

“What you need is attitude change and corporations so set norms of behaviour in other countries. By example they are slowly moving things forward,” he added, in comments reported in the Telegraph.

Asked how soon gay employees should make their sexuality known to new employers, he responded: “In my view as soon as possible. Living with all over those fears is not right.”

Lord Browne, who was speaking at the Hay Literary Festival to promote his new book The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out is Good Business, also said that he hoped to see an openly gay British Prime Minister within his lifetime.

His new book covers the period in 2007 when he ‘outed’ by the Mail on Sunday. He initially used a so-called super-injunction to block the story, but resigned from his role at BP when the Court of Appeal ruled against him, after he admitted to lying in court papers.