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Rod Stewart turns down Saudi Arabia gig over the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ human rights abuses

Rod Stewart turns down Saudi Arabia gig over the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ human rights abuses

“I’d like my choice not to go…to shine a light on the injustices there and ignite positive change.”

By John Russell Monday, October 16, 2023




Rock icon Rod Steward says he turned down an offer to play a show in Saudi Arabia because of the country’s human rights abuses, including its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.

The star recently posted about his decision on Instagram.


“I’m grateful that I have a choice whether or not to perform in Saudi Arabia,” he wrote. “So many citizens there have extremely limited choices – women, the LGBTQ community, the press.”


“I’d like my choice not to go [to Saudi Arabia]…to shine a light on the injustices there and ignite positive change,” he added.


According to a 2021 U.S. State Department report on the country’s human rights practices, “consensual same-sex sexual conduct is punishable by death or flogging” in Saudi Arabia. It is also illegal for men “to behave like women” or to wear women’s clothes, and vice versa, according to the report.


A source told U.K. tabloid The Daily Mirror that Steward had made the decision not to play Saudi Arabia based on his “moral compass.”


“Rod was determined to do the right thing and couldn’t accept the offer, no matter how much money was on the table,” the source said. “Some things are more important.”


Stewart previously turned down a similar offer to play a show in Qatar, where homosexual acts are also punishable by imprisonment and death. “I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1 million, to play there 15 months ago,” Stewart told The Sunday Times last year amid controversy around FIFA’s decision to allow the country to host the 2022 World Cup. “I turned it down. It’s not right to go.”


According to the Mirror, the offer from Saudi Arabia was “much higher” than the one from Qatar.


A long-time LGBTQ+ ally, Stewart wrote the 1976 sin


gle “The Killing of Georgie (Part I and II),” inspired by the murder of a gay friend. In 2016, he spoke proudly about his youngest son’s penchant for “dressing up as a lady.”

“If he turns out to be a homosexual, that’s okay with me,” Stewart said. “As long as he’s happy.”



JB COMMENTS: Absolutely top marks for doing this. Well done Rod. You have my total support and admiration for this as over a million £ is a lot to give up on for your beliefs, and well done you.


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