Elton John Accuses Vladimir Putin of ‘Hypocrisy’ on LGBT Rights Following ‘Rocketman’ Censorship

“I find duplicity in your comment that you want LGBT people to ‘be happy’ and that ‘we have no problem in that,'” John said in a statement

Elton John accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of “hypocrisy” when it comes to his stance on LGBT rights and policies, citing the censorship of the Elton John biopic “Rocketman” as a reason for why he doesn’t take Putin at his word.

In an interview with The Financial Times on Thursday, Putin said he’s willing to “let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that,” but criticized certain lifestyle choices for fear that it could “overshadow” other “traditional family values.”

“I find duplicity in your comment that you want LGBT people to ‘be happy’ and that ‘we have no problem in that,'” John said in a statement obtained by TheWrap. “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.”

John previously issued a statement condemning the censorship of “Rocketman,” in which The Guardian reported that a Russian distributor had cut all scenes in the film featuring gay sex or men kissing due to laws banning “homosexual propaganda,” an estimated five minutes in all of total footage.

Further, the caption ahead of the film’s credits says that John now lives happily with his husband and that they are raising their children together. The Guardian quoted a Russian film critic who said that in Russian version of the film, the credits read that John has established an AIDS foundation and continues to work with his musical partner.

John and the filmmakers at the time said they were unaware that the changes to the film would be made.

“I am proud to live in a part of the world where our governments have evolved to recognise the universal human right to love whoever we want,” John continued in his letter to President Putin. “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.”

Speaking to the Financial Times, Putin said that the ideals of “liberalism” had become “obsolete” and further threw water on the idea that Russia’s policies are homophobic.

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

Putin continued: “But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.”

“Rocketman” is a biopic and jukebox musical about John’s life starring Taron Egerton and directed by Dexter Fletcher. The film is in theaters now.

Read John’s full letter to President Putin below:

Dear President Putin,

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 recognise 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

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