Selena Gomez ‘Forced To Cancel Russia Shows After Visa Refusal:’ Over Gay Rights?

Selena Gomez has been forced to cancel scheduled concerts in Russia after immigration officials reportedly rejected her application for a work visa.

The 21-year-old has been traveling on her Stars Dance tour in support of her same name album since mid August and was set to play Minsk, Belarus on Thursday, St. Petersburg on Monday, and Moscow on Wednesday.

An additional performance in Kiev, Ukraine has also been removed from the Latina’s itinerary.

According to The Moscow Times, show promoters have said Gomez was most likely denied a visa due to Russian authorities tightening travel restrictions for performers who are seen as supportive of gay rights in the wake of the country’s new anti-gay legislation.

The move comes after artists such as Madonna and Lady Gaga criticized the country’s stance on gay rights during their recent shows in Russia. Following Gaga’s concert there last December, she was accused of encouraging “minors to support the organization of gays and lesbians.”

The new laws, came into effect in June, specifically ban the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” They have led to international protest from an array of human rights campaigners and motivated Cher to turn down an invitation to perform at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

According to Russian news agency RIA Novosti, Gomez’s visa denial was expected last week.

Gomez has just completed the European leg of her tour and is scheduled to perform in Dubai on September 27.

After hitting the United Arab Emirates, the Disney alum is set to return stateside for 33 shows in 49 days.

Those shows kick off in Washington D.C. on October 10, wrapping in St, Louis on November 27.

Meanwhile, gay rights activist John Becker is calling on Gomez to voice her active support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and sign his Change.org petition which is lobbying for the Russian government to scrap its divisive, anti-gay legislation.

He told WENN, “By speaking out, Selena can let LGBT folks in Russia know that we stand with them, and that they are not alone…”

“This cancellation of Selena Gomez’s visa shows that the Russian government is sensitive and on the defense, and shows that the pressure from people all around the world and the backlash against these laws is strong.”

“They’re afraid to have someone like Selena Gomez come in and potentially use her platform to advance LGBT rights.”