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Elton John Warns of ‘Growing Swell of Anger and Homophobia’ in U.S.

The British pop superstar Elton John lamented the “growing swell of anger and homophobia” in the United States and described several laws recently passed in Florida that curtail L.G.B.T.Q. rights as “disgraceful.”

“It’s all going pear-shaped in America,” John, a longtime leader for gay rights and visibility, said in an interview published Tuesday in Radio Times, in which he pointed to a rise in violent incidents and recent legislation curtailing rights. “We seem to be going backwards. And that spreads. It’s like a virus that the L.G.B.T.Q.+ movement is suffering.”

More than 520 pieces of such legislation have been introduced in over 40 states this year, a record, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy group.

“I don’t like it at all,” John said, referring to the increasingly hostile climate. “It’s a growing swell of anger and homophobia that’s around America.”

John, 76, will headline Glastonbury, Britain’s biggest music festival, on Sunday, as his lengthy final tour, Farewell Yellow Brick Road, heads toward its finale in Stockholm on July 8. The tour, which will have had over 330 dates, began in 2018 but was interrupted by the pandemic as well as John’s hip surgery.

As he prepared to perform at Glastonbury, the last British date on the tour, John said that he did not know if the rising anti-L.G.B.T.Q. sentiment is as prevalent in Britain. “I don’t know if it’s around Britain, because I haven’t been here that much,” he said.

But he called the scandal around the prominent British news anchor Phillip Schofield — who recently resigned after admitting he had a relationship with a younger man — “totally homophobic.”

“If it was a straight guy in a fling with a young woman, it wouldn’t even make the papers,” John said.

In the interview with Radio Times, John said he might eventually be open to doing a residency after his farewell tour ends, “but not in America.” That, his representatives said, is for the same reason that he had decided to stop touring: He wants to spend more time with his husband and children, who live in Britain.

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