Sir Elton John accuses Vladimir Putin of 'hypocrisy' over LGBT comments

29 June 2019, 01:31 | Updated: 29 June 2019, 06:47

Sir Elton John has accused Vladimir Putin of "hypocrisy" after the Russian leader said his country has "no problem" with LGBT people.

The music legend said he was "deeply upset" by Mr Putin's interview with the Financial Times in which he said liberalism "must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people".

Mr Putin had told the FT he was "not trying to insult anyone" and wanted to "let everyone be happy", but said "some things do appear excessive to us".

Sir Elton argued the recent film Rocketman, which charts his rise to fame, was "heavily" censored in Russia to remove references to his husband David Furnish and their two sons.

In a series of Twitter posts, he wrote: "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."

He added: "This feels like hypocrisy to me."

Russian censors also cut gay sex scenes from the musical biopic, with an estimated five minutes of footage reportedly removed.

At the time, Sir Elton and the makers of the film released a joint statement to accuse censors of being "cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people".

Writing on Twitter on Friday, Sir Elton said he was "proud" and "grateful" to live in a country where gay marriage has been legalised.

He included a photograph of his family with the caption "censored" written across it and used the hashtags #LOVEISLOVE and #WORLDPRIDE.

The Russian president had said he would be willing to meet Sir Elton in 2015, but the pair did not meet when the singer performed in Moscow the following year.