Elton John is singing a song of outrage over the Vatican’s controversial stance on gay marriage.
The legendary musician slammed the church’s recently announced position on LGBT unions, tweeting Monday about the “hypocrisy” of the religious organization after it reportedly invested over $1 million in John’s flamboyantly costumed, queer-themed 2019 biopic Rocketman, which he executive produced alongside his husband, David Furnish.
“How can the Vatican refuse to bless gay marriages because they ‘are sin,’ yet happily make a profit from investing millions in Rocketman – a film which celebrates my finding happiness from my marriage to David??” John tweeted, referencing the Taron Egerton-starring film’s plot following his decades-long relationship with Furnish — and its inclusion of a gay male sex scene.
According to Newsweek and The Daily Beast investigations, the Vatican reportedly invested large sums of money into the production, with the former citing $1.2 million going towards financing Rocketman ahead of its release, though representatives for John, Pope Francis, and distributor Paramount didn’t immediately respond to EW’s request for confirmation on the singer’s statements.
The 73-year-old’s statement comes after the Vatican’s official Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced Monday that its priests couldn’t bless same-sex unions because they’re “not licit,” but that the church should still be welcoming to gay people “with respect and sensitivity” despite not endorsing their partnerships.
Though Rocketman was celebrated in most parts of the world — winning John and longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin an Oscar for Best Original Song atop grossing $195 million globally — its gay content also generated controversy in Russia and Samoa.
Samoa’s principal censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui made the decision on the basis of the film’s themes clashing with the country’s “culture and our Christian beliefs,” while the film reportedly screened in Russia with its gay romance scenes heavily edited.
“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,” John and the filmmakers said in a joint statement at the time. “Paramount Pictures have been brave and bold partners in allowing us to create a film which is a true representation of Elton’s extraordinary life, warts and all. 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.”
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Elton John biopic ‘Rocketman’ stars Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, and Bryce Dallas Howard.