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People protested Bohemian Rhapsody film premiere over HIV silence

People protested Bohemian Rhapsody film premiere over HIV silence

Protesters on the Bohemian Rhapsody purple carpet

Bohemian Rhapsody, the movie about Freddie Mercury and Queen, premiered tonight in London. Not everyone in attendance, however, was there to celebrate it.

Activists from ACT UP London and the NHS Anti-Swindle Team showed up to the purple carpet. They wore shirts with messages on them.

They also chanted a revised version of the Queen song Don’t Stop Me Now, changed to Don’t Cut Me Now. Their version of the song is about healthcare and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Here are the lyrics:

Don’t cut me now
I’m entitled to free healthcare
I don’t pay at all

Don’t cut me now
If I wanted U.S. healthcare
I’d give Branson a call.

Don’t cut me now – ’cause we’re having a shit time
Don’t cut me now –  yes we’re having a sick time
I don’t wanna die at all!

Since the trailer for the movie first debuted, fans have accused the film of ‘hetwashing’ Mercury’s bisexuality as well as his HIV diagnosis.

This is an ongoing crisis

‘Freddie died when I was twelve, it was the first time I heard of AIDS and HIV,’ said Hywel ap Dafydd of ACT UP London.

‘There’s a drug called PrEP which stops people from catching HIV but the NHS rations it so not everyone who needs it can get it. It’s disgraceful that the NHS denies people this opportunity that neither I nor Freddie had,’ he finished.

Protester shirts at the Bohemian Rhapsody premiere
Displaying some of the shirts they wore | Photo: Provided

Jeremy Goldstein, also with ACT UP London, spoke at the premiere about Mercury’s status as an HIV positive migrant.

He said: ‘Freddie ‘Killer Queen’ Mercury was a migrant who died from AIDS and today HIV positive migrants are some of the most oppressed in the HIV / AIDS community.

‘We demand that all HIV positive migrants are treated with upmost dignity, that HIV services stop being closed down and an end to all illegal detention of HIV positive migrants.’

Signs at the Bohemian Rhapsody premiere
Signs they carried | Photo: Provided

Ray Malone, from the NHS Anti-Swindle Team, said the commitment to universal healthcare is ‘more important than ever’ due to the ‘biggest refugee crisis since the second World War’.

‘The humanitarian principles that the NHS was founded on, that we are all entitled to the same treatment regardless of wealth or background is being eroded by the government’s toxic “hostile environment.”‘

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