12:40 GMT11 July 2020
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    UK singer and composer Sir Elton John has dismissed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments in the wake of a private Russian distributor’s decision to remove certain scenes from his biographical movie.

    Elton John addressed Putin directly in an Instagram post, writing that he was “upset” after reading the interview. 

    “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,” the award-winning singer wrote.

    The Instagram post comes after the Russian President’s interview with the Financial Times on 27th June, where he said that he wishes everyone could be happy and live as they wish, noting that there are “no problems with LGBT persons” in Russia.

    Earlier in May, The Rocketman, a biographical film about the singer’s career and personal life, showing his relations with his husband, was edited after its prescreening in Moscow. 

    The film's distributor, Central Partnership, edited out around 5-minutes worth of scenes involving gay sex and drug abuse, as well as the ending credits scene showing a photo of Sir Elton John himself and his husband, David Furnish, with a caption saying that the singer had found real love.

    The distributor commented that the changes were necessary to make the movie “compliant with Russian laws”.

    In the meantime the Russian Culture Ministry has said that it had not advised Central Partnership to remove any scenes, insisting that the distributor made the decision itself.

    When asked by reporters, Kremlin spokesman said that he had not heard about the movie, did not know what scenes had been edited out or who might have recommended doing that.

    Last time Russian President and Elton John spoke was in 2015 after prank-callers impersonating the Russian president called the singer, who told them he would like to meet with Putin to discuss his concerns over gay rights in the country. Putin spoke with John by phone, saying “I know you were pranked by those telephone guys, don’t be offended by them, they’re harmless, but that, of course, doesn’t excuse them,” according to presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov. 

    The two were planning to hold talks when John was in Russia with his tour in 2016, however, the meeting was postponed as there was "no appropriate time in the two men's schedules," according to Peskov.


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