Elton John Condemns Russian Anti-Gay Law at Moscow Show

Elton John at AIDS Foundation Benefit - H 2013
Carlo Allegri/Invision/AP

Elton John at AIDS Foundation Benefit - H 2013

The British singer became the first major Western celebrity to denounce the legislation at a Russian performance.

MOSCOW -- Elton John devoted a Dec. 6 Moscow concert to a Russian man killed for being gay and condemned discrimination against the local gay community onstage.

The singer became the first major Western artist to speak against the legislation since it was enacted last June.

During the show held at Moscow's Crocus City Hall, John said that he was "sad to learn" about the adoption of the national law banning the "propaganda of homosexuality among minors," a legislation that many see as a crackdown on Russia's gay community.

"In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating," he was quoted as saying by BBC News. The British singer also said that he dedicated the show to Vladislav Tornovoi, a 23-year-old man murdered in the southern city of Volgograd last May allegedly for being gay.

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John added that he felt obliged to come to Russia and show support for the local gay community, although some friends and colleagues tried to dissuade him.

Earlier this week, there were rumors that the Moscow show and another one, scheduled to be held in the Central Russian city of Kazan on Dec. 7, could be canceled under the anti-gay law, but the promoters denied the rumors.

The law against gay propaganda was adopted on a national scale several months after similar local legislation was enacted in the city of St. Petersburg. Madonna and Lady Gaga, who performed in the city last year, also used their concerts to voice support for the local gay community. Both singers' shows stirred controversy and led to lawsuits.