Elton John blasts Russia, others for bigotry against gays

NEWS 24.07.2018 19:16
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Source: REUTERS/Yves Herman

Sir Elton John angrily attacked on Tuesday the governments of Russia and Eastern Europe for discrimination against gays, accusing them of hindering the fight against AIDS, and called on politicians to step in, the Belgrade Beta news agency carried the Agence France-Presse (AFP) report.

British mega-pop star, himself a declared gay, told reporters that “if there wasn’t this bigotry and hatred, then this disease could be eliminated far quicker than you could ever think.“

„That doesn’t apply just to Eastern Europe of course. It happens in America, it happens in Britain, but it happens in Eastern Europe a lot. It happens in the Middle East; it happens in Asia,“ John said at an international AIDS conference in Amsterdam.

Some 37 million people currently live with the HIV which causes AIDS, with some 1.8 million new infections recorded in 2017.

Back in 2016, John had a concert in Moscow and wanted to meet with President Vladimir Putin to discuss LGBT, HIV and AIDS issues, but that didn’t happen due to the discrepancy between the two men’s schedules, as Putin’s office said at the time.

On Tuesday, John was speaking after he joined forces with Britain’s Prince Harry to launch a 1.2 billion dollars initiative to „break the cycle“ of HIV transmission.

Prince Harry, 33, said the “smashing of the deadly stigma around the virus — and calling out the prejudice that has fuelled it” was a big challenge faced by those looking to combat the spread of the disease.

The celebrity duo lent their mega-wattage star power to efforts to end the lingering stigma around HIV, and protect future generations against it during the second day of the conference, the AFP said.

John, whose foundation has raised some 400 million dollars since it was set up in 1992, called on politicians to be more humanitarian.

„Politicians need to step up to the plate. They can end this disease so quickly … please, please think of human beings as being equal. As being one race of people, and not dividing them up into sub-texts,“ he said.

„This is the first disease which could be cured in my lifetime,“ said the 71-year-old star, adding the situation was „very frustrating,“ John added.