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Elton John accuses Putin of ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘duplicity’ on LGBTQ equality

The Daily Beast

June 28, 2019

After Putin said Russia had ‘no problem’ with LGBTQ people, Elton John issued a dissenting statement, citing censorship of ‘Rocketman,’ his marriage, children, and diversity.

On the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Elton John has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “hypocrisy” and “duplicity,” after Putin gave an interview to the Financial Times claiming that Russia had “no problems with LGBT persons… but some things do appear excessive to us.”

“I am not trying to insult anyone because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia,” Putin told the FT. “But we have no problem with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish. But some things do appear excessive to us. They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles.

“Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that. But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.”

In the same interview, Putin declared that liberalism was “obsolete,” and multiculturalism “no longer tenable.”

In response, John addressed a statement-as-letter to Putin, which in full reads as follows:

“I was deeply upset when I read your recent interview in the Financial Times. I strongly disagree with your view that pursuing policies that embrace multicultural and sexual diversity are obsolete in our societies. I find duplicity in your comment that you want LGBT people to ‘be happy’ and that ‘we have no problem in that.’

“Yet Russian distributors chose to heavily censor my film Rocketman by removing all references to my finding true happiness through my 25 year relationship with David and the raising of my two beautiful sons. This feels like hypocrisy to me.

“I am proud to live in a part of the world where our governments have evolved to recognize the universal human right to love whoever we want. And I’m truly grateful for the advancement in government policies that have legally supported and allowed my marriage to David. This has brought us both tremendous comfort and happiness.”

Respectfully, Elton John.


Putin’s contention that he or Russia have “no problem” with LGBT people flies in the face of homophobic legislation like the 2013 law banning gay “propaganda” in the country, alongside the highly-publicized anti-LGBT purges in Chechnya, and—as John noted—the censoring of Rocketman.

In Russia, the movie was shown with the scenes of same-sex passion cut; also cut was a statement that John lives with his husband, David Furnish, and that they are raising their children together.

Nearly half of Russians support LGBTQ equal rights, according to a survey last month, the highest such figure in 14 years, and attributed—according to The Moscow Times—to a lessening of anti-LGBTQ sentiment on Russian TV.