Blondie snubs Sochi Olympics over Russia's 'biases and prejudices'

The band posted a scan of their offer on Facebook with 'pass' written across it

Tuesday 11 February 2014 13:33
Deborah Harry of Blondie turned down an offer to perform at Sochi's Opening Ceremony on Friday due to Russia's anti-gay laws
Deborah Harry of Blondie turned down an offer to perform at Sochi's Opening Ceremony on Friday due to Russia's anti-gay laws

Blondie’s leading lady Deborah Harry has spoken out about her band's snub of the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, criticising Russia for its "biases and prejudices".

The US rock band shunned an invitation to perform on the Medals Plaza because of the country’s strict laws against "gay propaganda for minors".

In a statement sent to The Huffington Post, Harry said: "Blondie has always been a part of the downtown community in New York City, with many, many friends who represent alternative lifestyles.

"We feel very strongly about these friendships and associations, and don’t feel good about participating in a situation where biases and prejudices are paramount."

Blondie shared a scan of the official invitation on social media, with "Pass. Human Rights" scrawled across it in black ink. Over 4,000 have 'liked' the picture on the band's Facebook page.

Blondie performed at Amnesty International's recent 'Bringing Human Rights Home' concert in New York – an event which saw two members of Pussy Riot take to the stage with self-professed "freedom fighter" Madonna to demand a "Russia that is free and a Russia without Putin".

Several other high-profile acts have condemned Russia's homophobia, including Brit Awards nominee Ellie Goulding, who boycotted Sochi because of the "gay hate that has just exploded over there".

Sir Elton John defied calls to cancel his recent Moscow concert, instead using his visit to speak out against the laws, which he said legitimised homophobia and provided legal cover to extremists.

Described by Vladimir Putin recently as an "extraordinary person regardless of his orientation", Sir Elton rejected the President's attempted olive branch.

Enjoy unlimited access to 70 million ad-free songs and podcasts with Amazon Music Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

Seventies punk group Blondie, whose hits include "Heart of Glass", "Call Me" and "Atomic", are to be honoured by NME when they receive the music magazine's Godlike Genius award later this month. "It's great you know," Harry said. "It's out of proportion, but it's nice to be recognised."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in