Elton not performing at Trump inauguration

British singer- songwriter and composer, Sir Elton John (above), has been an outspoken critic of Mr Donald Trump.
British singer-songwriter and composer, Sir Elton John (above), has been an outspoken critic of Mr Donald Trump.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

NEW YORK • Elton John is not performing at Mr Donald Trump's inauguration in January, contrary to a report from a member of Mr Trump's transition team, a publicist for the British singer said on Wednesday.

Mr Anthony Scaramucci, a member of the presidential transition team, made the claim during an interview on the BBC programme HARDtalk this week.

But a publicist for John issued a strong denial by e-mail: "Incorrect. He will NOT be performing."

Mr Scaramucci, who founded the investment firm SkyBridge Capital and has referred to himself as a gay rights activist, used his appearance on the BBC show to discuss his own stance on same-sex marriage.

He said that Mr Trump shared his views.

"This will be the first American president in US history that enters the White House with a pro-gay- rights stance," Mr Scaramucci said on the show. "Elton John is going to be doing our concert on the mall for the inauguration."

E-mail and telephone calls requesting comment from Mr Scaramucci were not immediately returned, but on Wednesday afternoon, he admonished someone on Twitter who suggested he had lied about John's appearance.

"Let's drop the rhetoric," he wrote. "It was an honest impression that I got wrong. It was a fast- paced interview and you can see I thought it was true."

John's denial is the second false alarm in a week involving Mr Trump's inaugural entertainment prospects.

Last Saturday, musician Vince Neil said his invitation to play at the inauguration had been rescinded after Mr Trump won the election.

On the campaign trail, Mr Trump had few A-list celebrity supporters. It is still unclear who will perform at the inauguration.

No major musician has stepped forward, but Ted Nugent, Loretta Lynn and Kid Rock were among those who voiced their enthusiasm for Mr Trump's candidacy. (Kid Rock performed at an inauguration event for Mr Barack Obama in 2009.)

Securing a performance by John, 69, would have been a long shot: He performed at a fund-raiser for Mrs Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump's opponent, last month.

John, a long-time activist and founder of the Elton John Aids Foundation, has been an outspoken critic of Mr Trump.

The singer told the news site Mic last month that the possibility of a Trump victory made him "fear for the world" when it came to helping raise awareness of and spurring activism for treating and curing HIV.

"He'll marginalise people; he's already doing it," John said.

The Daily Beast reported in February that two of John's hits, Rocket Man and Tiny Dancer, were among Mr Trump's preferred songs to play on the campaign trail.

John suggested to The Guardian that asking Nugent to use his music might be a better choice.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2016, with the headline 'Elton not performing at Trump inauguration'. Subscribe