André Leon Talley quits Numéro over Russian anti-gay laws

The fashion editor could no longer square his conscience with working in the increasingly homophobic country

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Andre Leon Talley at NYFW Kathrin-Thuy OTTO
André Leon Talley at New York Fashion Week Via Flickr / Kathrin-Thuy OTTO

André Leon Talley has resigned from his post as editor at large of Numéro Russia after only a year, citing the anti-gay laws in Russia as one of his reasons for leaving the job.  

"The one thing that really impacted me was Rachel Maddow's reporting last winter on the anti-LGBT laws in Russia," Talley told WWD. "There are no civil rights for people there. That's one of my reasons for departing." 

In December, Russian authorities banned one of his Numéro covers, featuring a nude male model shot by Tom Ford. In Russia, it is illegal to "promote homosexuality" to minors, and the loosely-worded nature of the legislation has led to untold misery and persecution for the Russian LGBT population.

Talley left his editor at large spot at Vogue after 30 years to helm Numéro Russia, confessing that he needed more financial security as he approached retirement (he's 64). He only produced 12 issues for Numéro, but has said that he hadn't been paid for the last three issues and is fine with leaving without compensation for them. "Me not taking the money was me taking the moral high ground", he said. 

The sudden about-turn comes to some as a surprise, especially after he downplayed concerns about Russian anti-gay legislation. In February, Talley gave an interview on Oprah: Where Are They Now where he gave little indication of quitting. "I took the job because I thought it would be wonderful financially," he said. "I don't think you can stereotype a whole nation just by the laws enacted in that country."

Looks like money can no longer trump morals for Talley. Do you think he did the right thing?

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