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
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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.

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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."

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