The G20 summit was held in Osaka, Japan this weekend—a.k.a. the one time of year that the leaders of various nations come together and put on their “Good Person” masks for half a day before getting back to the busy, nasty business of professional politics. Case in point: Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who gave an interview to Financial Times this week in which he claims to have “no problems” with LGBTQ+ people, despite the fact that his tenure at the head of the Russian government has seen a noted uptick in institutional homophobia, including laws banning distribution of “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” (like, say, allowing gay couples to adopt, or depicting such in media) because, well:
Among the many people loudly calling bullshit on this bullshit: Elton John, who recently had a professional run-in with the Russian government when it forced cuts on his biopic Rocketman, effectively eliminating all the bits of his life where he’s been, you know, married with a couple of happily adopted kids for the last several years. John issued an open letter this week pointing out this slight discrepancy between Putin’s words and his governmental actions on Instagram:
For his part, Putin wants the world to know that he’s still an Elton John fan, even if he’s not, you know, a fan of every aspect of Elton John. (Specifically: Large parts of his identity, and also the existence of his family.) He issued a statement while at the summit today, noting that, while he thinks John is a “genius musician,” he’s simply “mistaken” about the state of LGBTQ+ rights in Russia. (He’s not.) Putin dubbed his country’s attitudes “relaxed and unprejudiced” (again, they’re not) and expressed a general hope that the musician will come around to his general way of thinking on these issues. (He almost certainly won’t).