A pair of Russian comedians played a cruel joke on Elton John. According to Reuters, Vladimir Krasnov and Aleksei Stolyarov duped the piano legend into thinking he was speaking with a representative for Russian president Vladimir Putin on LGBTI rights.
Krasnov admitted to posing as Putin’s press secretary and calling John about setting up a meeting with Putin. A day before, John met with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and expressed interest on speaking with Putin on such issues, as Russia is often criticized for its poor treatment of the LGBTI community.
A Kremlin spokesperson denied that John had spoken with Putin’s camp after the pianist posted the following to Instagram:
Earlier today (Sept. 17), John crafted an Instagram rebuttal. “I love Russia and my offer to talk to President Putin about LGBT rights still stands,” he wrote. “If this unfortunate incident has helped push this vital issue back into the spotlight, then I am happy to be pranked on this occasion.”
Pranks are funny. Homophobia, however is never funny. I love Russia and my offer to talk to President Putin about LGBT rights still stands. I will always stand up for those that are being degraded and discriminated against. If this unfortunate incident has helped push this vital issue back into the spotlight, then I am happy to be pranked on this occasion. @ejaf @president_vladimir_putin #lgbt #lgbtrights #ShareTheLove
Reuters reports that John did not comment further on the matter.