British actor Sir Ian McKellen has said that he is appalled by passage of an anti-gay law in Russia that has provoked calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympics to take place next year in Sochi, Russia.

Russia's “gay propaganda” law prohibits the public promotion of gay rights to minors.

McKellen made a brief statement in a video clip taken with a mobile phone and uploaded to the YouTube account of The Wall Street Journal.

“As a gay man, it is absolutely appalling to me that this law has been passed, which would inhibit me and any gay athletes going to Russia [inaudible] to be simply themselves,” McKellen said.

“I would do almost anything possible to help repeal it, but it isn't easy as a foreigner.”

“What would be wonderful is if all the athletes, gay and straight, and the Olympic authorities were to make clear that they absolutely disapprove of it and they are going to ignore it, not because they don't care, but because at the moment the spirit of the Olympics must take precedent,” McKellen added. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)