MILAN (AP) -- Elton John has slammed Venice's conservative mayor over moves to remove books from public preschools dealing with gender issues and featuring same-sex couples.

In this picture taken on June 16, 2015 and made available on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro poses for the photographer in his office, in Venice. (AP Photo/Luigi Costantini)

The singer, who has a home in Venice, called Mayor Luigi Brugnaro "boorishly bigoted" in an Instagram post following the removal of some books from preschools pending an evaluation of their appropriateness.

Brugnaro shot back on Tuesday on Twitter, saying "The challenge is to give real resources for saving (hash)Venice," adding in dialect: "Let's get to facts, out with the cash (hash)Elton John."

The mayor in a statement last month voiced reservations about the books "Little Egg," whose protagonist meets non-traditional families, and "Jean Has Two Mothers." He said it would be decided over the school break who would make the selections "to avoid further diatribes."


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