Vladimir Putin Defends Russia’s Homophobic Censorship of Elton John’s ‘Rocketman’

Several weeks ago, ahead of Rocketman’s release in the country, Russian distributors removed scenes depicting homosexual sex and drug use in the Elton John biopic.

At the Moscow premiere, for example, critics found that distributors had cut five minutes of footage.  The cuts included scenes in which the singer discusses raising his children alongside his partner, David Furnish.  Critics also found Russia has cut out “all scenes with kissing and sex between men.”

Taking to social media to express his anger at the country, Elton John wrote,

We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today.

Stating he believes in “building bridges and open dialogue,” he added,

That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended, is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.

The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation stated it didn’t request the cuts.  Instead, the fault lies with local distributors.

Denying the country is hostile toward the LGBT community, Russian President Vladimir Putin said,

We [in Russia] have a very neutral attitude to members of the LGBT community.  We have a law, for which we’ve been slammed, a law banning propaganda of homosexuality among minors.

According to Putin, the law ensures the LGBT community “leave [children] alone” until they grow up.  Then, as adults, they can choose their sexuality.

He added he respects John as a “genial musician.”  Whenever he comes to Russia, the Russian people are “happy to listen to him sing.”

In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Putin called gender categories “excessive.”  He also said he doesn’t want the LGBT community to “overshadow” heterosexuals in the country.

Slamming the President’s remarks, John said in an open letter,

I strongly disagree with your view that pursuing policies that embrace multicultural and sexual diversity are obsolete in our societies.


Featured image by Lilian Darling (CC by 2.0).