The London premiere of Freddie Mercury biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was crashed by protesters on Tuesday night, with a message about HIV prevention in the UK.
Held at Wembley Arena, the event was attended by the film’s cast, including leading man Rami Malek and Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor.
The two groups came together, in t-shirts bearing the messages “Don’t Cut Me Now” and “Save Our NHS” and Freddie-esque moustaches, to highlight the fact that almost one in four gay men in the UK who wanted access to the preventative HIV drug PrEP were not granted access to it.
As part of their demonstration, the protesters chanted “HIV stigma is real life — not just fantasy” (an obvious reference to the opening line of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’), as well as performing a reimagined version of ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, using rainbow feather dusters in lieu of Freddie’s trademark mic skills.
“Don’t cut me now,” they sang, as reported by Pink News. “I’m entitled to free healthcare, I don’t [wanna] pay at all.
“Don’t cut me now, If I wanted US 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!”
Hywel ap Dafydd from ACT UP London told Pink News: “Freddie died when I was twelve; it was the first time I heard of AIDS and HIV.
“I’ve been living with HIV for the past eight years thanks to medication that came too late to save Freddie and the millions of people who died because of AIDS.
“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.”
In the newly-published reviews of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, many critics took issue with the fact that Freddie Mercury’s HIV status and death from AIDS was largely ignored, as were his relationships with men, something we picked up on in our own HuffPost Verdict.
The early years of protest group ACT UP were recently explored in the French film ’120 BPM’, released in the UK earlier this year.