One of the local film distributors made specific orders to the Tass news agency to remove what they considered to be ‘explicit’ scenes in the movie, and unfortunately, they do not comply with Russian laws or their audience.
Sir Elton John had previous clashes with Russian authorities in 2016, due to the fact that Russian laws strongly prohibit ‘gay propaganda.’
This resulted in him receiving a call from the president Vladimir Putin himself, stating that he would be more than glad to receive a visit from the singer, and settle their differences. However, even though the star performed in Moscow the following year, they’ve never met.
The Rocketman went exceptionally well at the U.K. box office, so the crew behind the movie had high hopes for the movie’s success in Russia as well. This critically acclaimed movie revolves around the singer’s rise to fame. As a result, the story needs to involve all the things that happened during that journey, including his homosexual relationships and his drug abuse, among many other things.
The whole idea of the movie was to present his life, and prove that even though you could encounter a few obstacles on your way toward fame — you will be able to push it through and get there. However, this storyline had to be altered a fair bit for the conservative Russian audience.
This resulted in cutting out around five minutes of the whole movie. There the audience was presented with scenes where the leading actor, Taron Egerton, is involved in drug abuse, kissing another man, etc. These five minutes were removed a few days ahead of the movie’s debut in Moscow.
A Russian movie critic stated for the Moscow Times that he was thrilled to see the premiere in Cannes during May. However, he was shocked to see that all the scenes with kissing, sex, oral sex, and abuse of drugs have been completely removed ahead of the debut in Moscow.
The singer gave an official statement in which he stated that censoring the love between two people is unacceptable. Not only did they chose to minimize the love between two people, but they also decided to proceed and censor Rocketman without advising the producers first.
Amnesty International decided to speak up as well. In their statement, they strongly condemn such behavior, calling it ridiculous, irresponsible, and insulting for the LGBT community. The organization added that the mutilated version of the movie was not something the Russian audience should’ve received. Moreover, by doing so, they are dehumanizing same-sex relationships, which is unacceptable.
Sir Elton took the whole scandal to Twitter too, where he decided to send a clear message. He emphasized that the local movie distributors denied the Russian audience the opportunity to see the movie and its story the way it was intended.
Lastly, he added that this is a sad reflection of the world we’re still living in and that not recognizing the love between two people is no longer acceptable behavior.