Putin to discuss gay rights with Elton John

Russian leader to meet popular singer who has previously spoken out against 2013 law banning "gay propaganda".

    Putin to discuss gay rights with Elton John
    Last week, Elton John was tricked by a Russian comedian who pretended he was Putin on the phone [EPA]

    President Vladimir Putin has phoned popular singer Elton John to say he would be ready to meet up for a chat after the British singer requested a meeting to discuss his concerns about gay rights in Russia.

    Putin's call on Thursday came just a week after a pair of Russian comedians tricked John, 68, into thinking he was talking to Putin on the phone, in a stunt that the entertainer laughed off, while saying he hoped it would highlight discrimination against gay people.

    US Supreme Court rules in favour of gay marriage

    This time, Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, said the Russian leader really had phoned John, who has used his status as one of the world's most famous gay celebrities to push for equal rights for gay people around the world.

    "Putin phoned him," Peskov told reporters. "He said: 'I know some guys played a trick on you on the phone, but don't get offended. They are harmless people, though that of course does not justify what they did.'"

    Putin told John that since he was a popular performer he would be ready to meet him and discuss any subject which interested him, if their schedules coincided, Peskov said.

    Western states and human rights activists have criticised Russia for its treatment of gay people, and John has previously spoken out against a 2013 law banning the dissemination of "gay propaganda" among young people.

    Putin has said he is not prejudiced against gay people, but has made comments which activists have criticised as being ambiguous and insulting towards homosexuals.

    John, who plays to vast audiences in Russia when he tours, could not immediately be reached for comment.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?