Vladimir Putin Has No Plans to Meet Elton John to Discuss Gay Rights

Elton John performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2015
Josh Brasted/WireImage

Elton John performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival at the Fair Grounds Race Course on May 2, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Vladimir Putin has no plans to meet British music star Elton John to discuss gay rights in Russia, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

This weekend, John told the BBC that he would like to meet with Putin to discuss the Russian president's "ridiculous" stance on gay rights.

"We are aware [of John's intention to have a meeting] from media reports, but we haven't received any signals directly from Sir Elton John," Dmitry Peskov, Putin's press secretary, was quoted as saying by Russian news agency TASS. "Given that there have been many insinuations in the media lately, we are treating information of that kind carefully."

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Observers interpreted the comments as diplomatic jargon for saying the president wouldn't meet the singer.

Speaking during a visit to Ukraine, John said that he would welcome such a discussion, even though Putin "may laugh behind my back" or "call me an absolute idiot, but at least I can have a conscience and say I tried."

This is not the first time John has tried to raise the issue of gay rights in Russia with Putin. In January 2014, he said in comments on his website, "I would welcome the opportunity to introduce President Putin to some Russians who deserve to be heard and who deserve to be treated in their own country with the same respect and warm welcome that I received on my last visit."

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During his live shows in St. Petersburg in November 2013 and in Moscow in December 2013, the singer condemned Russia's "law against gay propaganda among minors," which is viewed by many as a way to crack down on the gay community in general.

John was among the few Western pop stars who visited the Soviet Union back in the late 1970s, when homosexuality was still considered a criminal offense.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.


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