The Russian conductor denies supporting Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws in a statement.
Valery Gergiev has responded to a protest made by Peter Tatchell at the Barbican on Thursday last week at a London Symphony Orchestra concert. Tatchell took to the stage to stand up against the conductor's links with Vladimir Putin.
Gergiev said: "I am aware of the gay rights protest that took place at the Barbican last week prior to my concert with the LSO. I have said before that I do not discriminate against anyone, gay or otherwise, and never have done, and as head of the Mariinsky Theatre this is our policy.
"It is wrong to suggest that I have ever supported anti-gay legislation and in all my work I have upheld equal rights for all people. I am an artist and have for over three decades worked with tens of thousands of people in dozens of countries from all walks of life and many of them are indeed my friends. I collaborate with and support all my colleagues in the endeavor for music and art. This is my focus as a conductor, musician, artist and as Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre and Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra."
The London Symphony Orchestra said they supported equal rights for all, and are directing their Twitter followers to read Gergiev's full statement.