Entertainment » Celebrities

Russian Parents Put It to Putin: No Elton

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Sep 25, 2013

A group of Russian parents is urging President Vladimir Putin to cancel an upcoming concert by Elton John because he will violate the country's controversial "homosexual propaganda" law, according to Reuters.

"The singer intends to come out in support of local sodomites and break the current Russian law, directed at protecting children," the Russian parents, who are from the central Ural region, reportedly wrote in the open letter to Putin.

Reuters tried to contact the parents' committee but were unavailable for comment.

The singer has made headlines this month after saying he'll perform in Moscow, despite Russia's anti-gay law, which has been criticized by leaders and LGBT activists around the globe.

"I've got to go. And I've got to think about what I'm going to say very carefully," the singer told the British newspaper the Guardian. "There's two avenues of thought: do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you're really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation. As a gay man, I can't leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don't know what's going to happen, but I've got to go."

On Monday, John spoke with NPR and defended his decision to perform in Moscow on Dec. 6 and on Dec. 7 in Kazan - just a few months before the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Although the Russian parents' committee suggest the musician will will come out and support LGBT rights during the show, John tells NPR the opposite.

"On one hand, I want to say, ’I’m not going and you can go to hell, you guys.’ But that’s not helping anyone who’s gay or transgendered over there. I’ve been going to Russia since 1979," he said. "I’ve been going quite frequently, and I’ve always had a wonderful rapport with the Russian audiences and with the Russian people. And you know there are a lot of great Russian people out there who are outraged by what’s going on, but they don’t have - I don’t want to abandon them.

"Now, I’ll probably get criticized for going, and I can understand that. It’s just that I, as a gay man and a gay musician, cannot stay at home and not support these people who have been to lots of my concerts in the past," the singer continued.

"I’m aware of the situation and I will be diplomatic. I’m not going to go into Russia and tell [Vladimir Putin] to go to hell and things like that. That’s not the way things are done. You chip away at something, and you hope there will be dialogue and that the situation can get better.

Shortly before John stated he’d be going to Russia, pop icon Cher announced that she turned down a chance to perform at the Olympics because she did not agree with the "homosexual propaganda" law.

"I can’t name names, but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show," Cher said. "I immediately said no. I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there."

Last year, both Lady Gaga and Madonna performed in St. Petersburg, one of the few cities that banned "homosexual propaganda" at the time. The musicians were criticized, however, and Russian officials have now made it more difficult for performers to be approved for a visa.


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