Will Justin Timberlake Condemn Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws When He Performs There?

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This week, Justin Timberlake announced on his website that his 20/20 Experience World Tour is headed to Russia–St. Petersburg and Moscow, to be exact–in 2014, with tickets going on sale this Saturday. Since the performances in Russia will mark Timberlake's first time performing in the country, people are starting to ask, essentially, WWJD–what will Justin do? US News reports:

"Obviously our hope is that Justin will use his time in Russia as an opportunity to highlight and expose the horrible situation that the LGBT [community is] facing there," says Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Charles Joughin. Recent legislation passed by the Kremlin includes the prohibition of "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" and a ban of the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples abroad and unmarried individuals in countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

Cher recently revealed she had been asked to perform at 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in February, but turned down the offer because of the crackdown. Elton John, meanwhile, has vowed to go on with his concerts in Russia next month, despite boycott threats, being labeled "the devil's work" by a Russian Islamic leader, and calls that John wear a traditional Cossack uniform rather than his usual costume, which one group suggested was "homosexual propaganda." 

The problem, as HRC's Joughin points out, is that Russia's anti-gay laws are so vague–and so all-encompassing–that nobody really knows exactly what's illegal.  "It could be that tweeting, 'I support LGBT equality,' while you're in Russia could violate the law," Joughin told US News.

Of course, Timberlake's not the kind of gay icon that Cher or Elton John are, but he has voiced his support for LGBT rights in the past.  More importantly, though, he represents–and can speak to–a younger generation.  And in today's Russia, that generation could use all the pro-LGBT sentiment it can get.

Comments

  1. Eric says

    No, he won’t.

    But the real question should be:

    Will Justin Timberlake condemn the PERSECUSION of Russia’s LGBT community?

    NOT

    Will Justin Timberlake condemn Russia’s anti-gay laws when he performs there?

    The problem is MUCH BIGGER than the laws.

  2. Mike Ryan says

    Get real. He won’t say a word while he is there. He shouldn’t even be going to Russia at all because of the anti-gay policies but the bottom line here (as it always is) is money, money, money. Timberlake has no qualms selling out his gay fans and those who support equality when it comes to his cash register. What can you do? Boycott his concerts. Paint him, his music and his tour in a negative light. If you have friends who think he is everything and then some point out his reluctance and outright failure to help the gay Russian community. We don’t need celebrities or singers who aid in the discrimination of gay people.

  3. Eric says

    @Jamie

    You must not be familiar with Artists United Against Apartheid and similar efforts in the 1980s. That effort caused almost all international artists to boycott performing in South Africa, and brought tremendous attention to the problem of apartheid. It was so successful that artists that ignored the effort and performed in South Africa anyway still have that decision noted in their biographies and current newspaper stories about their careers. Much more importantly, South African activists and historians frequently cite that boycott and the associated publicity as a major factor in F. W. de Klerk’s decision to end apartheid.

    “Sentiment” doesn’t matter to millions of persecuted Russian LGBT citizens. Results matter.

  4. Rowan says

    Agree with everyone here. He isn’t gay friendly and has never pretended to be. If LGBT people are so dumb and insecure that they believe every PR claptrap that comes of every celeb at VERY convenient times, then we need help.

  5. kaccompany says

    If he walked out on stage… looked into the crowd… raised his fist and proclaimed that he was standing up in solidarity with his LGBT brothers and sisters… and then proceeded to set himself on fire…

    … it still would be enough for some of you.

  6. whitneyisadude says

    NOPE. JT is spineless (Janet Jackson, anyone?). He’s made a career orf appropriating the culture of minorities. There’s no way he’d get in the way of himself making a buck.

  7. MaryM says

    Justin Timberfake is no friend to the gay community. He never has been.
    He will go to Russia, stay silent, cash his cheque and come home.

    And then make some meaningless statement about how he loves his gay fans.

    He’s not as craven as Elton John mind. That pig is the lowest of the low.

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