Russian President Vladimir Putin is pushing back against criticism from prolific singer-songwriter and LGBTQ activist Elton John.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Putin issued a statement claiming the British singer was wrong to publish an open letter in response to the Russian leader’s Financial Times interview. In his letter, John called out Putin’s “hypocrisy” for claiming he both supports LGBTQ people and wants them to “be happy” and censoring scenes with queer content in Rocketman, a recent biopic about the gay singer’s life.
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) May 31, 2019
He added that he “strongly disagrees” with Putin’s views that “pursuing policies that embrace multicultural and sexual diversity are obsolete in our societies.”
Meanwhile, Putin insists that Russia is “very neutral” toward LGBTQ people.
“[Elton John] is mistaken,” Putin said, as quoted by the Russian state-run news agency TASS. “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.”
Putin was later quoted as complimenting John, saying he “respects him very much.”
“He is a genial musician, he comes to Russia and we are happy to listen to him sing,” he added.
The Russian government didn’t seem too “happy to listen to him sing” when Taron Egerton portrayed him in Rocketman. This is the same administration that has routinely cracked down on queer “propaganda” in Russian media and refused to investigate or help alleviate the disturbing and deadly anti-LGBTQ “purge” in nearby Chechyna.
But sure, go off, Jill.