Elton John to Meet Putin, Discuss Gay Rights

Thursday November 5, 2015

After Russian pranksters pulled a fast one on Sir Elton John, pretending to be Russian President Vladimir Putin in a hoax phone call, the singer said he is currently working out a date to meet the Soviet leader in order to discuss gay rights, the BBC reports.

Putin apparently called John after the crank call and apologized for the incident.

"He was very affable, he was very apologetic, he was very sincere," John said. "As soon as I can get a date in my diary that coincides with him, then I will be going... to Moscow and I will meet him."

He added: "Whether or not I make any progress, I don't know. I'm not going to go straight in there and go, 'come on, you've got to do this, you've got to do that.' This is the starting of a dialogue and you don't get anywhere without a dialogue."

The musician called Putin's attitude towards the LGBT community "isolating and prejudiced" back in September. At the time, he said he wanted to speak with the president even though "he may laugh behind my back...and call me an absolute idiot."

Not long after those remarks, John took to Instagram to thank Putin for "reaching out" to him via a phone conversation. As it turned out, however, the singer was the victim of a prank as a Kremlin spokesperson denied that conversation happened. The hoax call was later aired on Russian TV.

Putin also commented on gay rights in Russia during an September interview with "60 Minutes," claiming LGBT people "live in peace" and that reporting on the controversial "homosexual propaganda" law he approved in 2013 has been "deliberately exaggerated from the outside for political reasons." LGBT rights activists, however, believe the vaguely worded measure has silenced LGBT people and is the cause of violence against the community in Russia.