Sir Elton John has objected to Russian censors for cutting gay sex scenes from the hit musical biopic Rocketman which depicts his rise to fame.
The film’s five-minute scenes of kissing and sex between men, as well as drug use, were removed ahead of its debut in Moscow to make it suitable for the conservative Russian audience.
The 72-year-old iconic singer issued a joint statement with the makers of the film blaming censors of being "cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people".
"We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today," the statement read.
"That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended, is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people. We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to push for the breaking down of barriers until all people are heard equally across the world,” it added.
Amnesty International demanded that Russia reinstates all deleted scenes in Rocketman, describing censorship as "ridiculous" and "insulting".