Sir Elton John became the butt of a joke recently, when 2 Russian pranksters faked a call to him and pretended to be the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov. While the 2 seem to be quite pleased with themselves, the topic of conversation is no laughing matter. Elton John, who is an active LGBT advocate, sought to reach the President in the hopes of obtaining better treatment for members of the LGBT community who reside in Russia.
Russia has an appalling record on LGBT rights and has an alarming amount of violence against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, with no serious consequence for offenders. In a previous interview with the BBC, Elton John had expressed his desire to speak to the President and as such was quite pleased when he thought the conversation had actually taken place, opening doors to a better future for the country’s LGBT members. After the conversation, Elton John’s Instagram page saw him place a picture of Vladimir Putin, thanking him for the call.
However, the fact that the call was a fake was something that was not found out until Tuesday, a day after the call, when Dmitry Peskov announced that no such call had taken place and questioned the authenticity of John’s post.
On Wednesday, Vladimir “Vovan” Krasnov and Alexei “Lexus” Stolyarov, who are famous for prank-calling Ukrainian and Russian celebrities, made it known that they were responsible. After figuring that the President would never make the call, they decided to take it upon themselves to reach out. A report from the Guardian tells Krasnov in an interview with Russian daily newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda on the ease with which they fooled the music icon.
“It turned out that Elton John was really waiting for this call, and so he immediately believed it really was a conversation with the people who we said we were.”
The pair released the phone conversation, as well, and Elton John can be heard giving a heartfelt plea towards a change on Putin’s anti-LGBT stance. His main concern centered around the violence and harassment LGBT members faced and aimed for a face-to-face meeting to discuss the issue.
“I would welcome [dialogue] because things get done better when you see somebody and you meet them. If both our offices can find a convenient date where we can convene and have a really wonderful discussion… that would be a miracle. It would be fantastic, and it would be a dream come true.”
Peskov did comment to a Russian news agency that the pranksters owe Elton John an apology, as he is much loved and respected in the country, and John can be heard expressing his love of the country, as well.
After the hoax became known, Sir Elton John once again took to his Instagram to write how he felt on the matter.
“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
A previous report by the Inquisitr showed that to Russia, members of the LGBT community are seen to be suffering from a mental illness, and many unfair restrictions are placed upon LGBT individuals. The Times stated that while homosexuality is not expressly illegal in Russia, gay rights have continuously been under fire since the mid 2000s, and governmental wrath been faced by any who challenge the new norm.
[Photo Courtesy of Steve Jennings / Getty Images]