Two pranksters convinced the singer he was talking to the Russian president about LGBT rights
Elton John has responded to news that his conversation with Russian president Vladimir Putin was actually a hoax by two prank callers.
Writing on Instagram, John said, “Pranks are funny. Homophobia, however, is never funny.” Before stressing that his desire to meet with Putin and discuss LGBT rights still stands.
At the start of the week, John revealed on social media he had spoken with Putin to discuss LGBT rights in Russia. However, the Kremlin denied any knowledge of the conversation and it was later revealed the call was a hoax conducted by two famous Russian phone pranksters.
John has since responded to the news with an Instagram post. Posting a photograph of two young men, one with a bloodied face, he wrote:
“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”
See Elton John’s instagram post below:
The full audio from the hoax call is now available online after it was broadcast by the pair on a late-night Russian TV show.
As reported by The Guardian, Vladimir Krasnov played Putin while Alexei Stolyarov played the president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, acting as a translator during the hoax.
At the start of the call, John expressed his gratitude for an opportunity to talk with Putin.
“Tell him I’m extremely honoured that he’s calling me and that I’m speaking to him. It’s a great privilege to be able to speak to one of the most influential people in the whole world. It’s amazing.”
Throughout the call, Elton John raises his concerns about the difficulties faced by the LGBT community in Russia, but avoids going in to great detail, instead pushing for a face-to-face meeting with the Russian president.
“My position in life is that people who are gay should be included in all walks of life and be given basic freedom,” John says. “I do not want to get mixed up in a political dialogue. I’m not a politician. I want to talk on a humanitarian basis to the president face to face.”
Sign up for the newsletter
Acting as a translator during the call, ‘Peskov’ confirms a meeting will be arranged for the middle of November and asks John whether he will attend a gay pride march in Moscow at the same time.
“If he wants me to come to gay pride in Moscow, yes I’ll come to gay pride in Moscow,” John replies.
Clearly moved by the call, John concludes, “Please thank him for his time. And tell him he’s made my day, OK. It’s a very wonderful moment in my life, thank you.”
Listen to the hoax call below: