Saturday 16 December 2017

Elton John spoke to Putin over gay rights

Elton John
Elton John
Russian President Vladimir Putin

Elton John has revealed he spoke to Vladimir Putin, after requesting a meeting to discuss Russia's anti-gay environment.

The Rocket Man singer (68) posted a photograph of the Russian president on Instagram, writing: "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," he added.

The star's publicist, Gary Farrow, confirmed the pair had been in contact.

Their conversation follows Elton's offer of talks with the Russian leader after speaking at a conference in neighbouring Ukraine, where he met with the country's president, Petro Poroshenko, to lobby him about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.

The singer, whose real name is Reginald Dwight, had criticised the Russian president's "ridiculous" stance on gay rights and accused Mr Putin of saying "stupid things" in reference to his warning to gay people travelling to the Winter Olympics to "leave the children in peace".

Russia also passed a law banning homosexual "propaganda" among children in June 2013, sparking an international outcry.

Elton told the BBC: "Give me a break. You are president of Russia, and you go and say stupid things like that?"

He said: "I would like to meet (Mr Putin). It's probably pie in the sky ... He may laugh behind my back when he shuts the door, and call me an absolute idiot, but at least I can think I have the conscience to say I tried."

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