LONDON (AP) -- Actor Ian McKellen and 27 Nobel laureates have written an open letter urging Russia's president to repeal an anti-gay law.
The letter -- published Tuesday by the Independent newspaper -- comes in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics, which have been the focus of a backlash in the West regarding the law.
McKellan -- known to millions as Gandalf in the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" films -- wrote the letter with his friend, chemist Harold Kroto.
Signed by the laureates, it is designed to show the scientific community's "solidarity" with others who have "expressed their abhorrence" at Russia's law. It bans promotion of "non-traditional sexual relations" to minors and has prompted calls by gay activists and others for a boycott of the games, which begin Feb. 7.