Elton John and Vladimir Putin clash over the biopic Rocketman

Elton John is taking action against Vladimir Putin after kissing and gay sex scenes in the Rocketman biopic were censored in Russia.

Rocketman Censorship in Russia

Kissing and gay sex scenes from the Elton John biopic "Rocketman" were censored in Russia. In total, over 5 minutes of the film were cut. For a month, Elton John and Vladimir Putin have been at the center of a media feud. The film’s distributor in Russia said the film should be banned for under 18s and had been edited to comply with Russian laws. Since 2013, Russian law punishes any act of homosexual “propaganda” targeted at minors through fines or prison sentences.

On June 27, Putin stated in a Financial Times interview: “We have no problem with LGBT persons. But some things do appear excessive to us. Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that.” But Elton John was not convinced. Elton John tweeted his response, “Dear President Putin, 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”. The day after, in the middle of a G20 press conference in Osaka, the Russian president responded directly to Elton John. “I respect him a lot. He’s a great musician and we all enjoy listening to his music. But I think he’s wrong. I’m not misrepresenting anything here. We have a very relaxed attitude toward the LGBT community, really very relaxed, very impartial. We have a law that everyone criticizes, a law banning homosexual propaganda for minors. But listen, let people grow up, become adults and decide for themselves who they are. Let the children be!”

Already in 2018, Elton John stood up against the violence against LGBTQIA communities in Eastern Europe. “These countries are discriminating very badly against LGBT people, and we have to fight that, and we are fighting it. To be an LGBT person in Russia is very difficult, I don’t have to tell anybody that, but we’ve made incredible advances in Ukraine. It’s a long way to go, you just put your foot down and you just keep going and you keep going. I will say one thing, the Russian thing about…they don’t mind about gay people but they don’t want…“they’re coming for our children”, well I would say that’s absolute nonsense, the heterosexuals have done that for years, and they’ve done it for us. So that is complete "bullshit”. I’m so anti what’s going on for the LGBT community throughout Eastern Europe.”