Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry has offered more details behind her band’s recent Twitter protest of the Sochi Olympics. Last Friday, the band tweeted a contract proposal for a performance at Russia’s Red Rocks Festival, with the words “PASS” and “HUMAN RIGHTS” scribbled on the document; now, in an interview with the Huffington Post, Harry elaborates on the protest, citing a strong conflict with the country’s civil rights abuses.
“Blondie has always been a part of the downtown community in NYC, with many, many friends who represent alternative lifestyles,” Harry says in a statement. “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.” The massiveness of the proposed gig only enhances the protest’s power: The 45-minute Olympic performance would have taken place on Thursday, February 13th, at the main stage of the 25,000-capacity Sochi Medals Plaza.
Other artists have been vocal about their opposition to Russia’s anti-gay policies. Last September, in an interview with Canadian magazine MacLean’s, Cher claimed to have turned down an offer to “be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show” based on an explosion of “gay hate.” In 2012, Madonna challenged St. Petersburg’s gay-pride ban during a concert, promoting “respect, tolerance and love” for the LGBT community by handing out pink bracelets to the crowd.