UPDATE: According to The New York Times, President Putin says a phone call with Sir Elton John never happened. Kremlin press secretary Dmitri S. Peskov told reporters late Tuesday night that while Putin would be open to setting a meeting potentially in the future, he never called John on Tuesday. “This does not correspond to reality,” he said, referring to the singer’s Instagram, embedded and quoted below. “There was no conversation.” Perhaps somebody got punk’d?
EARLIER: This morning, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia and staunch opposer of LGBT rights, called Elton John, iconic pop figure and longtime LGBT activist. As the singer writes on an Instagram photo of Putin’s headshot, “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.@president_vladimir_putin @ejaf #lgbt #lgbtrights #ShareTheLove.”
John recently spoke openly about Russia and Ukraine’s track records of discriminatory laws towards people with “non-traditional” relationships and failure to prosecute homophobic violence in an interview with the BBC, conducted while he was in Ukraine, meeting with President Petro Poroshenko for the same reason. (Russia passed a law in June 2013 that prosecuted private individuals for “promoting homosexual behavior among minors.”) He has, at times, also spoken out against Russia’s policies while performing in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
John’s Instagram, saying that Putin reached out, is below.