Comments

  1. Marc says

    Bravo. Thank you Elton for speaking out and inspiring those in that crowd, and those watching this, to create a better Russia.

  2. Patrick says

    That was great, now I wouldn’t have a problem with Johnny Weir if he would speak out like this during his time there, but I doubt it. He is just there for the $, I think.

  3. Tiger says

    I’ll give you some credit for not just shutting up, Elton, but you could have NOT gone and said the same things.

  4. dumbnhung says

    Awesome, glad Elton did this. Is he donating proceeds from the concert to LGBT organizations in Russia?

  5. Patrick says

    @tiger I think it wouldn’t mean as much if he just said that stuff in England, he is showing support and entertaining his gay fans while risking jail…

  6. Markt says

    Tiger – Not going would not have said the same thing to Russians. They got to see their idol speak up. Their news agencies will now report that he did it in honor of a Russian LGBT youth and know that the whole world sympathizes with that young man. Not going would not have done that. In your mind it would have done the same thing.

  7. Patrick says

    @markt I doubt news agencies will report on anything since it might be considered propaganda, but I get your point.

  8. Joey Y says

    If he had said it in England, it’s likely that the thousands at the concert would never have heard. This way they did. And he risked jail, so frankly he’s far braver for this than people who whine on these boards about him and Weir. At least THEY are doing something risky, instead of complaining after brunch on a forum.

  9. excy says

    Wow…that was powerful. Thank you Elton John. Thank you for your tireless dedication to raising awareness around the world and for providing services to people living with HIV/AIDS through your AIDS foundation and thank you for this clear message about equality and love. I hope it gets picked up by news agencies in Russia.
    Bravo!

  10. Johnny Weir says

    As long you don’t have anal sex in front of a library I agree with you Elton ! But I’m watching you !

  11. will says

    I remember just two weeks ago so many people here calling Elton a traitor. What Elton did shows why showing up — and speaking out to whatever extent you can — is better than boycotting. It’s more important to change the hearts and minds of the people than “send a message” to the government. The younger generations are with us here in the States, but they’re homophobes in Russia due to all the cultural conditioning. Boycotting is walking away from the situation. This is a great opportunity for us. People had also tried to persuade singer Josh Ritter to boycott Messiah College in PA because of its anti-gay poliices and beliefs, but he showed up, gave a great concert, and spoke out from a place of love. Boycotting would have done next to nothing. We always have to show up and speak out — speak our hearts. Not throw glitter or insults. I admire Lady Gaga, but how is boycotting the Sochi games going to change minds?

  12. j says

    wondering if he had a simultaneous translator – if not, what he said pretty much fell on deaf ears – or maybe some of the audience got some of it – I’ve lived in russia – worked at a university – and i can tell you the english ability of the majority of the young folks i dealt with was pretty limited –
    so in essence they heard him up there speaking for a few minutes and most heard/understood not much
    this statement is clearly not for those in the crowd –

  13. Mario says

    There is probably nothing the Russian homophobes would like better than for all gays to stay out of Russia. Good for Elton John for going to Russia and speaking out publicly. I hope Johnny Weir does the same thing using NBC as his microphone. NBC has an obligation to speak out in support of the oppressed gays in Russia. They won’t do it unless we pressure them to do it.

  14. Jeremy says

    Yesterday I called Elton John a Quisling.

    Today I retract that statement. I don’t care if ‘others’ don’t think he did enough. I Do.

    Mr. John, by far, met the task of standing up and speaking out IN RUSSIA about the LGBT community, family and the humanity and love we should all share with each other.

    For that, I am grateful…he has surprised me.

    Thank you, Elton John!

  15. Mike Ryan says

    He accomplished very little. The Russian media won’t and haven’t reported on his speech at all thus Russians know nothing other than Elton was in town. He should have never gone to Russia and deprived his Russian sponsors of the millions he made for them. What is it people don’t understand here. Elton John went to Russia for the money and certainly not to help the gay citizens. His ego is so big he’ll go to any lengths, even if it means riding on the back of the gay community, to put another million rubles in his pocket. He’s old, a tired queen who hasn’t written a hit song in decades. He does more harm than any other gay celebrity along with Thomas and Weir. They are a sideshow sellout.

  16. Merv says

    Good for him. I must say I’m surprised, given that he said before that he wouldn’t do something like this. He puts Weir and Thomas to shame.

  17. Mike Ryan says

    I dare you to watch the following YouTube clip. Russians are beating and killing young gay men, laughing and trumpeting their exploits without repercussion. They aren’t arrested or held accountable. Elton John’s presence is not helping these people one iota.

  18. Victor says

    @dumbhung,

    I don’t know whether Elton John wants to donate the proceeds to Russian LGBT organizations. However, if he does, the organizations will be in danger of large fines, because of the “foreign agent” law.

  19. BreckRoy says

    I think Elton brilliantly played the Russian government. His non-committal statements opened him up to criticism at home but guaranteed he would get the visa the Russian Government was “reviewing” whether or not he should be allowed to have. They ultimately decided, in part beacuse of his statements that he wouldn’t speak out from the stage, to allow his concerts to go on. Then, when he got there, he DID speak out. He met openly with gay activists, condemned the law as “inhumane” from his stage, and drew global attention to one of the worst of all the anti-gay hate crimes in recent history, and openly advicated for his audience to take that message and spirit back to their communities…which is a criminal act in Russia as that is blatant “propaganda.” He risked arrest, however unlikely, and will most assuredly never be permitted a visa to play in Russia again under the current regime, cutting off all future revenue. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone trued to ban his music sales there, now. He HAD to be non-commital going in to make sure he got that Visa and the opportunity and he did so at some personal and financial risk, which is more than a lot of people do as they condemn from their comfortable arm chairs and TV studios in their perfectly safe home countries. I am not saying Elton’s choice is better than Cher’s, but it was valid and it was brave and I had not given him nearly enough credit. Bravo, Elton.

  20. will says

    Mike Ryan: What horrible logic. Elton’s presence isn’t stopping the gay-bashings.

    You might as well say that every gay person in the United States coming out to his friends & family isn’t preventing gay bashings here either. You’re comparing apples with Pet Rocks.

  21. Mike Ryan says

    Will: You’re wrong. Elton John’s presence is not helping to stop the killing and maiming of young gay men in Russia. His presence is filling his pockets with money – money that he will continue to use to live his high profile lifestyle. He’s not helping any gay person in Russia. Yes, we all see his grand stand here in America but the Russian people are not seeing much less hearing his disingenuous speech.

    He should have never gone to Russia. He could have easily made the same speech in Paris and still had as much impact on the Russian people as he is having today – which is no impact whatsoever because they don’t see or hear his speech. Quit fooling yourselves people.

  22. will says

    Mike Ryan: you’re as hard to reason with as talking to Sarah Palin about the desirability of separating church and state. I guess you’re fully indoctrinated in your approach.

  23. Mike Ryan says

    Will: time will prove me out. A year from today we’ll look back and realize Elton’s presence did more harm than good and the good was to Elton’s pocketbook.

    If I’m wrong I’ll be happy to apologize but the reality is, this was a cash cow for Elton John and he is using the gay Russian crises for his own good and not the good of the gay community (altho he’s certainly scammed a lot of gays writing on this forum).

  24. DannyEastVillage says

    Mr Ryan, what he accomplished cannot be estimated the day after – and probably not the year after. But if it gives hope to one soul it has accomplished more than your crummy attitude will accomplish ever.

  25. GregV says

    Bravo to Elton for his statement (though, like @J, I am wondering whether this was translated into Russian).
    A lot of English-speaking singers tend to go to foreign lands and carry on at the microphone in complex sentence structures as if they were back home. Much of the audience just hears “blah, blah, blah” until the beat of the next song starts and they can dance.
    I hope the Russian press will report what he said.

    One thing I keep thinking regarding visiting celebrities:
    What if every time a public event were held in Russia (whether it be a Miss Universe pageant or an Elton concert or an Olympic skiing competition), all advertising for tickets said:
    “DUE TO TO THE THREATS TO FREE SPEECH INHERENT IN RECENTLY-PASSED RUSSIAN LAW, THIS EVENT IS RESTRICTED TO THOSE OVER 18 YEARS OF AGE.”
    Even though we all know this trumped-up idea of “propaganda to minors” is a bunch of B.S., theoretically, it seems Madonna or Tom Daley or anyone else should be able to then go to the microphone before an audience of adults and tell it like it is.

    The existence of such a statement in all advertising would also bring the public’s attention to the problem before the singer/athlete/host even says anything.

  26. says

    @J: His statement appeared on a screen at the concert translated into Russian, so everyone in the audience understood it.

    @Mike Ryan: Actually the Russian media has reported it. My husband just read several articles in Russian on the concert and John’s statement was included in them. On at least one they referred to his husband and children.

    It can still be argued that he shouldn’t have gone and collected Russian $ but it can’t be said that he said nothing or that his statement only reached Western ears.

  27. jamal49 says

    Nice going, Elton. Would it be that your courage will become infectious and will be the standard at the Olympic Games in Sochi.

  28. says

    The difference between this and Thomas Roberts’s statement on the red carpet is night and day. Roberts’s statement was not made during the event, no Russians heard it, it was never translated, and there was no report that I found in the Russian media. Not even GAY Russian media.

    Elton’s statement came in the middle of the concert, in a hall that seats 7500. The translation was projected onto the big screens so all could see. (He dedicated another song to Nelson Mandela, by the way).

    There’s a report on ria.ru, which is basically their AP or Reuters, which includes all the relevant information and the quotation. It’s also on gazeta.ru, aif, and ntv, to name just a few. Newsru.com even adds that Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, have two children by surrogate mothers. All that info IN RUSSIAN IN RUSSIAN NEWS SOURCES.

  29. UFFDA says

    Thanks for that very contributive information ERNIE. Unless it is supportive no one else should say anything. Elton did good.

  30. Markt says

    Still not understanding the argument supporting not going. Not going is what the laws were hoping to accomplish – ergo not going would play into the hands of those in Russia supporting the laws. Going supports those against the laws. Not going does what good?

  31. anon says

    You can tell by the applause that at least some in the audience understood what he was saying. That’s not the same as them agreeing, particularly when the applause was sparse.

  32. Mick says

    Ok, Elton. You won me back! That was a very cool and brave thing you did for Russia’s gay community. Thank you for proving me wrong about you.

  33. FFS says

    Shame he didn’t think to pull an equally awesome stunt during his performance at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding reception when Rush married his FOURTH wife.

  34. graphicjack says

    to the naysayers, yes, we all know that Elton can be a cranky b!+ch and he has made some bad choices in the past, but he has also done tremendous work with this AIDS Foundation and he proved us all wrong here by doing a very courageous and wonderful thing. People are complicated… I don’t think I would want to be friends with Elton, but I can admire him for the work he has done, while at the same breath condemning him for being at times misguided and mean-spirited. No one’s perfect… how would you fair as a celebrity and an activist for gay rights, I wonder?

  35. Mike Ryan says

    John’s speech made barely a ripple in the Russian media … Visible outrage came from a radical Islamist organisation that urged the authorities of Tatarstan to forbid John from performing tonight in the region’s capital of Kazan. Calls from Russian politicians for John to leave the country and ban his return have been growing.

    Yes, I guess you can say he’s done a fabulous job.

  36. BreckRoy says

    Mike Ryan, read the comments. Not only were John’s comments fully translated for his audience, they were widely picked up and reported in the Russian press, including their wire services. That is WHY the politicians and Islamists are calling for him to be stopped. They know about it because its now widely known he stood up to their bigotry and lied about promising not to say anything…only to say much more than anyone could have expected.m.with pre-translated slides no less. This was in the works for a while and he totally played them all. So hate him all you want fof hks considerable failings, but this moment of fourage and defiance is not one of them.

  37. says

    @MikeRyan: I’m not surprised that some of the powers-that-be in Russia are outraged and would like to ban his return. He spoke out, and clearly they heard him and didn’t like it. But to say his speech barely made a ripple in the Russian media simply isn’t true–average Russians heard it, too, since it was widely reported, and everyone at his concert heard it, too.

  38. says

    LOL “barely a ripple!”

    http://ria.ru/culture/20131207/982590117.html
    http://www.gazeta.ru/social/news/2013/12/07/n_5798769.shtm
    http://www.ntv.ru/novosti/760917/
    http://www.newsru.com/cinema/07dec2013/eltonjhn.html
    http://lenta.ru/news/2013/12/06/elton/

    No doubt there are more.
    Yuri Gavrikov of LGBT Equality / Petersburg said on the BBC that it’s good because the press and people will be discussing his comment.

    Furthermore: Of course there was backlash and outrage: that’s known as a ripple.

  39. says

    Meanwhile Alekseev’s nose was out of joint because
    a) someone else got attention and
    b) Elton didn’t give him comp tickets
    so he flew off to Nice for some other concert.

  40. keating says

    The clip is on YouTube so can’t people in Russia see it? Even though the speech is in English, presumably at least some people in Russia heard about this beyond those outside of the venue. I credit Elton for taking the risk. But I think a boycott of Russia would have made an even stronger statement

  41. RonCharles says

    To Will, Kevint and Ernie who are debating one of the other posters here:

    You are arguing with a pigeon!

  42. Merv says

    @Mike Ryan – Sometimes, the best course of action is just to concede that you lost the argument.

  43. Mike Ryan says

    Get a grip girls. What I’m reporting is what the press reported – that his speech made barely a ripple in the real Russian Press. You can ignore that, avoid that and hope differently but what the result is John will be banned from Russia just as Madonna, Lady Gaga and others have been who have spoken out. Why else is Lady Gaga and Madonna now advocating boycotting the Olympics? Because they can’t get a visa into the country. And the Russian press will wash Elton’s speech under the rug, declare him to be a pervert and pedophile along with Furnish and say they only reason they have propagated two little boys is for molestation purposes. And the Russian people will believe that.

    Meanwhile Elton will come home with a potload of money, a revoked Visa and will have accomplished nothing at stopping the anti-gay policies of Russia.

    The only thing that is going to end the anti-discrimination is the world-wide ostracizing of Russia by the rest of the world by stopping our funding of their policies. Our funding, our millions of dollars and Euros are filling their coffers and insuring their policies remain in effect.

    Elton’s appearance only increases the resolve of the Russian conservatives to stop the perverted pedophiles of the world from getting to their children. They won’t let any country adopt their children, they truly believe any advocacy of homosexuality (i.e, admitting to being gay publicly) will destroy their bigoted way of life. Hit them where it hurts the most – in the pocketbook and those anti-gay laws will disappear. Snatch the money out of their purses and wallets, deny them the billions we would hand them to broadcast and participate in the Sochi Olympics and you’ll see an about face on the anti-gay issue.

  44. Edgar Carpenter says

    So nice to see the vicious LGBT people who attack other LGBT people proved wrong, yet again.

    Not everyone agrees on how to support LGBT rights, but that’s ok. Let everyone do what *they* think is best to change the world for the better, since it’s their time and effort, not yours.

    You don’t seem smarter or wiser or kinder or better when you attack other people’s well-meant efforts – instead, you seem remarkably like other kinds of fundamentalists.

  45. Mike Ryan says

    @Kim and Merv – but I haven’t lost the argument at all. This is nothing more than a PR stunt by Elton. It is you, the naive, who continue to believe his act of going to Russia and speaking out will help those gay Russian people. It is and will only hurt more gay Russian people for the audacity of foreigners to come in and tell the Russian people what they shouldn’t be doing. We’ll see more gay people maimed, beaten and murdered because of his visit and his speech.

    He should have never gone to Russia. He should have stood up and advocated a boycott of all things Russian. His greed won out.

  46. Mike Ryan says

    Here you go gang – a direct result of Elton’s visit: “A new St. Petersburg based antigay group emerged on a popular Russian social network Vkontakte has launched an on-line campaign offering an equivalent of $150 for reporting information on LGBT school teachers. Within the last 24 hours 6 teachers have been “outed” and student gangs want to hand their bodies over for the reward.”

    To you read that? ‘hand their bodies…’ Gosh. Elton has really helped the gay people of Russia and you know what? You don’t have to be gay to be ‘outed’.

  47. TonyJazz says

    Elton doesn’t deserve the hatred posted in comments here, but I don’t agree with his methods.

    I still don’t get why he supported Eminem. The results were the same: Eminem just did a new album with homophobic lyrics (obviously quite intentional).

    I don’t see any positive results from that effort, nor do I expect the Russians to become more civilized (for a very long time).

  48. JJR says

    Mike Ryan, seek help. Your obsession is unhealthy and your insistence that anti-gay violence and discrimination in Russia is a “direct result” of Elton John’s visit is delusional. Get the help amd meds you so clearly need and then come back. Don’t worry. We’ll wait.

  49. Mike says

    Hate to say ‘I told you so’, however this was my comment about Elton John going to Russia on Towleroad when it was first announced back at the beginning of the fall:

    “WHY NOT LET HIM GO AND WAIT AND SEE? What idiots. The government wants to shut down all “gay publicity” and your solution is to . . . have Elton sit home. Big help. Big big help.

    POSTED BY: MIKE | SEP 17, 2013 10:55:07 AM”

    Was fairly certain that he would do exactly this! Damned few supported this view and I was slammed unmercifully by bitchy queens, the usual gang of unfriendly contentious trolls and hateful others who only want to put down ANYTHING and EVERYONE. Big deal what this waste of human skin may say about me. But to disparage our arguably top gay icon Elton John who perhaps more then ANYONE else has tirelessly supported the rights of all gay people EVERYWHERE is just wrong! Totally and blatantly wrong!!!

    He masterfully played the Russian government just to get a visa to speak out to the Russian people themselves! The words WERE broadcast simultaneously in Russian on a screen at the packed crocus city hall music arena as one can tell by the reaction of the crowd. His protest of the current despicable LGBT laws was not only viewed by the entire world, in Russian newspapers they WERE printed word for word so that every Russian could see them! He demonstrated impressive courage and risk do so! Anyone else without his longstanding worldwide fame would have been immediately sent to a prison or find themselves on a boat to a frozen gulag. Even with them it was potentially quite dangerous. By speaking out he knew that any chance of him appearing in Russia again under this regime are nil. This means that his vast source of income which would run into the millions from Russian music sales alone would also evaporate! So what does he do? He spoke and rightfully eviscerated the new anti gay laws.

    Being human and thus subject to his own faults, (“Tantrums and Tiaras” may have only been a start.) he still provides an excellent example of a life well and bravely lived. When one of you gives a concert at a hall limited to four hundred an over ten thousand descend on the box office I will listen. Until then no. Instead of constantly seeking a way of finding a fault with him I would challenge any of YOU to accomplish one iota as much good . . .

  50. says

    Except @MikeRyan, how is what is happening in St. Petersburg a “direct result” of Elton John’s visit when the heinous group was begun before he arrived and made any statement? On their group page they make no mention of Elton or the concert.

    A case can be made for Western performers not to go to Russia, or for their statements having little long-lasting positive impact on the lives of LGBT Russians, without building falsehoods around the events or creating “direct” links that show no evidence of being direct.

  51. says

    Once again Mike Ryan is trying to twist facts to support his story.

    There is no reference to Elton John on the vkontakte page that offers 5000 rubles for information to out teachers.

    While he said nothing about LGBT rights at his Kazan concert, which beat all kinds of records for attendance and ticket pricing, all of the reports of that concert mention that he DID support LGBT rights and oppose the new Russian law in Moscow, so the information got through AGAIN in Russian to Russians.

  52. Mike says

    Please MIKE RYAN get back on your meds . . .

    Have been looking over some of your sick comments and all I can see is a diseased mind with particular focus on hating Elton John! Your mental derangement knows no limits or bounds in it it’s depravity. Have never seen anything so abysmally appalling! People who have never posted here before feel compelled to speak out against your litany of lies.

    Even the NRA would INSIST on taking you off the street if you were in possession of as much as a squirt gun!

  53. Paul R says

    I don’t quite get why he’d go there to play a 7,500 seat venue in any case. Presumably the tickets were priced at Western levels, so only Moscow’s uber-rich could attend—and they’re already familiar with the “Western perspective” of an openly gay performer.

    Apparently, even after quitting drugs, Elton spends $100K a day to maintain his homes and lifestyle. The $1 million he got for performing for Limbaugh didn’t even include the costs of two private jets, one for him and his entourage, one for his piano. I’m glad he spoke out, but he plays everyone and knew that he’d get slammed if he’d said nothing. For him this was a zero-sum game aside from the publicity.

  54. Tom says

    Mike Ryan you suck and not in a good way! Will not be as polite as Mike. I don’t think any Rx would help. JUST GO AWAY NOW YOU LITTLE CREEP!!!

  55. andrew says

    I agree with the almost unanimous opinion posted here: Elton played it just right and deserves congratulations.

  56. Bill says

    @Mike Ryan: if he “comes home with a potload of money,” doesn’t that mean that the Russians have less to spend elsewhere? It is not as if he left anything of any financial value in Russia.

  57. andrew says

    @BILL: Are you actually trying to reason with the hysterical Mike Ryan who posted:” We’ll see more gay people maimed, beaten and murdered because of his (Elton John) visit and his speech”?