Has Elton John fallen victim to a hoax or is President Putin playing games with the world’s LGBT community?
The Kremlin has now denied the singer’s announcement that the Russian leader had called him to discuss the issue of LGBT equality. John also claimed that Putin had agreed to meet him in the flesh at a date yet to be announced.
However, according to Russian state news agency Sputnik, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday: “That is not true. There was no conversation.”
The BBC also quoted Peskov as saying: “I don’t know [what happened] but President Putin did not speak to Elton John and most importantly we didn’t receive any proposals to meet.”
He added: “If the president does get such a signal from Elton John, the president has always been open to discuss any… human rights problems, any issues. He is always ready to clarify the real situation.”
On Monday, the singer posted on Instagram: “Thank-you to President Vladimir Putin for reaching out and speaking via telephone with me today. I look to forward to meeting with you face-to-face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia.”
John’s publicist also confirmed at the time that the call took place.
The alleged phone conversation followed John telling the BBC on the weekend that he would “love to sit down and talk to” Putin about Russia’s “ridiculous” repressive policies towards LGBT people.
Could John have been fooled by a Putin impersonator? It’s unclear what’s going on and John’s camp has since remained oddly silent on the issue. For now the bizarre incident remains a mystery.
In 2013, Putin signed a law prohibiting the promotion of “non-traditional” sexual relationships. The “gay propaganda” law effectively bars any expression or discussion of homosexuality in public, on television, in print or on the internet.