Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed he’s a big fan of Elton John’s music – but defended his country’s censorship of the singer’s new biopic.
Speaking after the close of the G-20 summit in Japan, Putin responded to criticism leveled at him by the singer, who’s blasted the removal of scenes featuring gay sex and men kissing from the Russian release of “Rocketman.”
On Friday, John also posted a photo of himself, husband David Furnish and their two young sons with the word “CENSORED” across it on Instagram.
“I deeply respect him, he is a musical genius and we all love his performance, but I believe he’s mistaken,” Putin said Saturday, according to the Associated Press.
The Russian leader also backed his country’s ban on what it calls “gay propaganda” aimed at children.
“Let a person grow up first before making a choice,” Putin said.
“Let the children in peace.”
Putin claimed that “our attitude to the LGBT community is absolutely calm and unbiased,” adding that “this part of the community aggressively enforces its point of view on others.”
International human rights groups blame Russia’s “gay propaganda” law for fueling hostility toward LGBTQ people and have said that recent anti-gay crackdowns in the mostly Muslim republic of Chechnya resulted in torture and killings.
The Pacific nation of Samoa banned “Rocketman” on grounds that conduct portrayed in the movie violates the country’s laws, even though principal censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui admitted: “It’s a good story, in that it’s about an individual trying to move on in life.”