Russia slammed for censoring gay sex scenes from Elton John biopic 'Rocketman'

MoviesReviews Rocketman and Ma Elton John by the numbers Octavia Spencer in a horror mood. Kurt Loder

MoviesReviews Rocketman and Ma Elton John by the numbers Octavia Spencer in a horror mood. Kurt Loder

Under Russia's "gay propaganda law" passed in 2013, any public display of homosexuality is effectively prohibited in order to protect minors against the "harm" that "non-traditional sexual relations" can cause.

Russian news agencies reported that the distribution company said the scenes were cut to conform with Russian law but that the Ministry of Culture said it was not involved in the decision.

In response, Amnesty International released a statement saying the censorship was "yet another example of the "gay propaganda law" undercutting freedom of expression and encouraging homophobia in Russia".

"You know perfectly well that numerous Western and Russian films are related to the problem of drug use.it would be wrong to say that we are engaging in any form of censorship", she said.

Sir Elton John described the decision to cut gay scenes from the movie as "a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in". I'm even more disappointed to hear about it second-hand today on the day of our domestic release.

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United Kingdom singer and composer Elton John has lashed out at the Russian distributor of his biographical movie over the decision to remove certain scenes from the film, saying that such actions were another example of the fact that the world was still sometimes unable to accept that love is possible not only between a man and a woman. I in no way condone this decision and feel disappointed I wasn't made aware and given the chance to fight this move.

Local journalists in Moscow reported after the pre-screening that an estimated five minutes of the film had been removed. The movie debuted at the Cannes Film Festival to strong reviews. "Love is love. No compromises". "The nastiest part is that the final caption has been removed from the finale'".

In the statement, the singer praises Paramount Pictures for being "brave and bold" in allowing a true representation of his life.

Elton John is popular in Russian Federation, where he first performed during the Soviet era in 1979 but he has been a vocal critic of the country's anti-gay laws.

The statement said, "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".

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