Steven Seagal's Set at Estonian Music Festival Canceled
MOSCOW – A set by Steven Seagal at the Estonian music festival Augustibluus in early August has been canceled over the U.S. actor's support of the Kremlin's policies in Ukraine.
Raul Ukareda, the festival's program director, was quoted by the online newspaper DELFI as saying that the organizers chose to cancel the Steve Seagal Blues Band's set, responding to public opinion in a bid to avoid "negative associations."
"We hope that Estonian public will primarily view Seagal as an actor and musician," he said. "But, as it turned out, everyone sees him only as a politician and [Vladimir] Putin loyalist."
According to Ukareda, the organizers wanted Augustibluus to stay away from any political issues.
A campaign against Seagal's performance in Estonia was recently launched by Estonian veteran singer Tonis Magi, who insisted that a performance by Seagal, who has openly supported the Kremlin on Crimea and Ukraine, would be considered a "provocation." Magi was especially upset by the fact that Seagal praised Russia's annexation of Crimea at a recent biker festival in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, and even performed the anthem of the self-proclaimed separatist Donetsk People's Republic.
Estonia's foreign minister, Urmas Paet, also spoke against Seagal's performance at the festival, saying that the organizers should be more sensitive to public opinion.
A year ago, there were reports that Seagal had received a proposal to feature in ads for the Russian weapons manufacturer Kalashnikov. There has been no news about the actor actually signing a contract, but Russian media reports quoted him as saying that he was still interested.