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Sir Elton John calls Vladimir Putin's gay rights claims 'hypocrisy'

Sir Elton John and his husband, David Furnish Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sir Elton said reference to his husband, David Furnish, were cut from the movie Rocketman in Russia

Sir Elton John has written an open letter to Vladimir Putin accusing him of "hypocrisy" over his claims Russia has "no problems" with gay people.

The singer said he was "deeply upset" by the Russian president's comments in an interview in the Financial Times.

Sir Elton said his film Rocketman was edited in Russia to remove references to his husband David Furnish and their family. Russia has denied censorship.

He previously criticised Mr Putin for a "ridiculous" attitude to gay rights.

In the interview, published on Friday, Mr Putin attacked liberalism and, speaking of the LGBT community, said: "God forbid, let them live as they wish."

But he added: "Some things do appear excessive to us... They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles.

"Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that. But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population."

'Duplicity'

In posts on social media, Sir Elton said: "I strongly disagree with your view that pursuing policies that embrace multicultural and sexual diversity are obsolete in our societies."

He accused Mr Putin of "duplicity" over his comments.

Sir Elton said Russian distributors "chose to heavily censor" Rocketman "by removing all references to my finding true happiness through my 25-year relationship with David and the raising of my two beautiful sons".

"This feels like hypocrisy to me," Sir Elton said. "I am proud to live in a part of the world where our governments have evolved to recognise the universal human right to love whoever we want."

The right to marry has brought him and his husband "tremendous comfort and happiness", he said.

Russia's culture ministry has previously denied censoring the biopic Rocketman - which was released earlier this year - but said movies were expected to comply with laws on "paedophilia, ethnic and religious hatred and pornography".

The country introduced a law banning "gay propaganda" in 2013, prompting criticism from the European Court of Human Rights that it was discriminatory and encouraged homophobia.

Sir Elton told the BBC in 2015 he wanted to meet Mr Putin to discuss LGBT rights, criticising what he called the president's "ridiculous" attitude.

In the interview with the Financial Times, Mr Putin said that liberalism was "obsolete" because it had come into conflict with the interests of the majority of the population and with traditional values.

He added: "I am not trying to insult anyone, because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia as it is. But we have no problems with LGBT persons."

It comes as celebrations have been happening and are planned across the world as part of LGBT Pride month in June.

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