Elton John, Taron Egerton slam Russia Rocketman censorship

Russian censors have cut scenes of gay sexuality from the Elton John biopic, Rocketman, and the film’s star and John himself are outraged.

According to reports, the musical has been edited to remove scenes that include same-sex kissing and sex for its release in Russia. An image of the star and his husband and children has apparently also been cut from the film.

The censorship was revealed by Russian film critic Anton Dolin, who wrote on Facebook that the cuts are “very noticeable,” adding that, “It’s about a principled five minutes, very important for artistic purpose.”

Elton and the film’s producers responded with a joint statement rejecting “in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market…”

They continued: “That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.

“We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to push for the breaking down of barriers until all people are heard equally across the world.”

Rocketman star, Taron Egerton – who plays John in the film – said on Instagram that he was “crestfallen” about the cuts to the film.

“I, in no way, condone this decision and feel disappointed I wasn’t made aware and given the chance to fight this move. Love is love. No compromises,” Egerton commented, including a rainbow emoji in the post.

The Russian distributor confirmed that “changes were made to the film in accordance with Russian law.”

The positive representation of homosexuality is restricted in Russia under the country’s so-called ‘gay propaganda’ law, which was signed by President Putin in 2013. It effectively bars any expression or discussion of homosexuality in public, on television, in print or on the internet.

It has also been used to ban Pride events and LGBTQ rights demonstrations across Russia. The law has been blamed for increased anti-gay sentiment, discrimination and violence against members of the LGBTQ community.

Rocketman (fully uncensored) is released in South Africa on 7 June.

 

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