Elton John makes the Cub Scouts strip

Scout leaders balk at what they call a pedophilia-inspired Albert Hall show.

Published December 1, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

Dec. 1, 1999

Was it harmless high camp, or a pedophiliac assault on wee campers?

Sir Elton John infuriated British scouting leaders on Sunday night when he
performed with six strip-teasing teenagers attired in Cub Scout uniforms.
The boys grabbed their crotches and bared themselves down to their skimpy
shorts to the tune "It's a Sin" by the Pet Shop Boys.

"It is pretty deplorable and in bad taste what they have done, in terms of
denigrating our uniform and what it stands for," fumed Scout Association
spokesman John Fogg to yesterday's Press Association Newsfile, Agence
France Presse and Scottish Daily Mail.

A spokesman for John explained that the sexy-scout spectacle "was a
bit of high camp in the great British tradition of comedy like Benny Hill.
It was meant to be a bit of fun for an appropriate audience."

The controversial act occurred at a glitzy Albert Hall extravaganza that
was celebrating the 10th anniversary of the gay rights group Stonewall.
Titled "The Equality Show," it's the largest annual gay and lesbian indoor
event in Europe. Celebrities in the audience included Prime Minister Tony
Blair's wife, Cherie, who was "stunned" by the lurid scout-spoof, reports
the Sun tabloid.

"I think what Stonewall have done is to link again homosexuality with
pedophilia," Fogg continued. "There are messages behind what Sir Elton
John and Stonewall have done onstage that people can pick up on. We do
not think they have done themselves any favors."

British scouting isn't half as homophobic as it's American cousin: An equal
opportunity policy was embraced last year that incorporates gay scouts
and gay leaders. Unfortunately, child-sex satires like John's do add
ammunition to the public's suspicion that pedophiles seek prey through
scouting positions.

Fogg lastly announced that the Scout Association would send a written
protest to Stonewall and that John would be urged to express an

By Hank Hyena

Hank Hyena is a former columnist for SF Gate, and a frequent contributor to Salon.

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