Rocketman edited in Russia to cut all gay scenes due to ‘homosexual propaganda’ law

Rocketman premiere
There was an uproar a few months ago when a rumor suggested that Paramount asked director Dexter Fletcher and producer Matthew Vaughn to cut a scene from Rocketman in which Elton John (Taron Egerton) and John Reid (Richard Madden) have sex. Fletcher and Egerton both shot down the rumor, and that particular scene is in the finished film…But not in Russia.

A Russian media company has reportedly cut all scenes featuring gay sex and men kissing from the Elton John biopic Rocketman because of laws banning “homosexual propaganda”.

An estimated five minutes of footage have been cut from the film in an attempt to play down the sexuality of one of the world’s most famous gay celebrities for a conservative Russian audience.

[From The Guardian]

The article goes on to say that Russian film critic Anton Dolin reported that “all scenes with kissing, sex and oral sex between men have been cut out” and that the movie’s “final caption” explained that Elton “established an [AIDS] foundation and continues to work with his musical partner.” Both notable accomplishments, to be sure, but the original caption mentions Elton’s marriage to David Furnish and their children. On Friday, Elton and the other filmmakers released a statement condemning the decision.

Russia’s “homosexual propaganda” law was signed by Putin in 2013 under the auspices of protecting children. However it has the opposite effect, particularly on LGBT youth, who are denied access to support services and to representation of gay people in media under this law. The law also contributes to a rampant anti-gay culture and to violence and discrimination.

Rocketman premiere

Rocketman UK Premiere

Rocketman premiere

photos credit: WENN

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19 Responses to “Rocketman edited in Russia to cut all gay scenes due to ‘homosexual propaganda’ law”

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  1. madthinking says:

    Not surprising, but just awful. Why are we trying to be friends with Russia again? Oh the orange cheeto.

    I saw the movie and it is actually very good but also different. I thought it would be more like Bohemian Rhapsody, but it is a cross between that and Mamma Mia in how they use his music. For the most part, they picked a song that went with the moment and used it to tell the story. Generally, not in order of when they were created. Also, the sex scenes for the most part were kind of needed for the story. Now if they just cut out the orgy scene it might have been understandable as it wasn’t really needed to move the story. The scenes between Madden and Taron were an integral part of the film. What do we expect from Putin anyway. He gave us Trump.

  2. The Dot says:

    Can we just, I don’t know, not show the movie in Russia then? Being gay is a huge part of Elton’s story. Cutting it out to satisfy some ass-backwards law is just so unsettling.

  3. Seraphina says:

    Yes, because this will really solve the issues they have with homosexuality. Out of sight out of mind. What stupidity. Reminds me of a country that banned students in college from having relationships. I will have to find it. It really worked well. NOT!!! Had the opposite affect. Which is hilarious.

    • The Dot says:

      There was a religious university near where I went to school. They banned romantic relationships and drinking, thinking it would keep PDA, unwed pregnancies, and drinking-related arrests/citations down. Well, it backfired spectacularly because the kids would go off campus to fool around and get liquored up, then get in their cars and drive back to the dorms. 🤦🏻‍♀️

      • Seraphina says:

        Yes! That’s what the students were saying and my husband and I laughed thinking, who really thought BANNING it would help.

      • The Dot says:

        It was a small enough town that the students’ DUIs or being asked to leave because they got pregnant was news. They eventually had to walk back the policy because it was dumb af. Like, who actually thought it was wiser to tell students of legal drinking age that they couldn’t drink in their homes but they could drive off campus and do it???

  4. Tw says:

    Gay propaganda? You mean like shirtless horseback riding?

  5. Rapunzel says:

    Meanwhile, Bishop Thomas Tobin tweeted that Catholics should avoid LGBTQ pride month events because they are immoral and bad for children. And most Catholics I know cheered his “bravery.” America is not as far away from Russia as we might think.

    • otaku fairy... says:

      “America is not as far away from Russia as we might think.” It really isn’t. Not when it comes to homophobia or misogyny. It’s one of the many reasons why attempts to silence either oppressed group with ‘just be grateful you aren’t in this country or that one’ need to just die and have no real place in progressive circles.

  6. Murzinsk says:

    This Is Just sad. Russian fans are devastated by this, but of course it was predictable. Well, we will go to cinema, and then we will going to find uncut version on Internet…

  7. Peanutbuttr says:

    Vladimir Medinsky, the culture minister and the architect of this law, is such an intellectual midget. He called Zvyagintsev, who has been nominated twice this decade for an Oscar, a hack and complained that the characters in his films swore all the time. His doctoral dissertation was considered to be terrible and was close to getting his degree revoked. Ultimately he got to keep it but those in the committee who voted to yank it are no longer there.

    • adastraperaspera says:

      I don’t know if anything is scarier than the title “Culture Minister.”

      • Peanutbuttr says:

        It’s been around since Soviet times. For example, Furtseva, the minister in the 60s, made Yuri Grigorovich put a happy ending in Swan Lake.

  8. Jax says:

    Ok. But here’s the thing. You can cut out all of the intimate scenes, but people still know Elton John is gay.

    Maybe not all Russians, but I’m sure those in the Russian LGBTQ community do (and if somehow they didn’t, they do now). And this still helps with the hey this guy made it, he is a gay man and they are are still showing his movie even in Russia. That’s extremely powerful support in a country like that.

    I don’t think Russia understands in this case that the whole movie is about a gay man who made it. Which is way more powerful LGBTQ “propaganda” then any sex scene. I don’t know if it will help towards normalization, but hopefully it helps show any kid or person who is marginalized that there is hope and other roads to travel, even in Russia.

  9. Not only Russia says:

    The censorship doesn’t only apply to Russia in some channels. I work for a film & series subtitling company in the Baltics and the local Sony channel series are all cut to Russian standards, even though the Baltics have no laws against displaying gay content.

    For people in the subtitling business, this means hundreds of hours of rewatching and coding series like Grey’s Anatomy and for the general public, it’s just bamboozling. We’ve all seen the original series and now we have to watch some sloppily cut version because to Sony all of the former Eastern Bloc is still somehow Russia. PS! By ‘Russia’ I mean the political busyheads, not the regular people suffering from these decisions.