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Blondie had a ‘moral duty’ to reject playing at the Sochi Olympics, the band says.

 

Blondie’s rejection of an invitation to perform at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi was swift and concise: a simple “PASS — HUMAN RIGHTS” written in Sharpie over an alleged contract offer. The New York band tweeted the image out, and it went viral.

Now in this week’s NME, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein went into a bit more detail on their decision, and say they had a “moral duty” to stand up for gay rights in Russia. The duo penned a piece for the UK newspaper, and said it wasn’t easy to decline an invite to perform for 25,000 people at the Red Rocks festival on the Sochi Medals Plaza.

In the NME piece, they wrote:

 

“We wanted to go but it didn’t feel proper, especially in light of the crazy new legislation banning ‘homosexual propaganda’ and the climate of anti-gay abuse.”

“Blondie has a long relationship with the gay community. These are our friends and neighbours, so to take a stand and represent them feels natural to us.”

Here’s the original document that was seen around the world:

Blondie Sochi