Selena Gomez Russian Visa Denied Over Gays? 3 Concerts Canceled

Image: Selena Gomez Russian Visa Denied Over Gays? 3 Concerts Canceled

Friday, 20 Sep 2013 07:46 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Pop singer Selena Gomez apparently has fallen victim to Russia's new anti-gay laws after reports said she was forced to cancel concerts in Eastern Europe because the artist was denied a Russian visa.

The Moscow Times reported that Gomez, 21, was set to sing at the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg on Sept. 23 and the Olimpiisky in Moscow in Sept. 25, as well as Kiev, Ukraine on Saturday. Those dates no longer appear on the star's concert schedule posted on her website.

The visa denial was a result of Russia's crackdown on foreign musicians in response to Madonna and Lady Gaga, who publicly voiced their support for gay rights during shows last year, organizers told the Russian-language newspaper RIA Novosti.

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Yevgeny Finkelshtein, head of the Petersburg Music Industry company, told RIA Novosti that he believed the Gomez situation will drive other artists away from performing in the country.

"Not a single person is going to visit us if the Prosecutor General's Office starts disputing something or looking for guilty parties," Finkelshtein told RIA Novosti.

This summer Putin and Russia pushed through a wave of anti-gay laws that has touch everything from the adoption of children to the conduct of athletes at the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

The New York Times reported in June that Putin signed into law what critics called a "broad and vague" statute that labeled "homosexual propaganda" as pornography. The law stated that adults could be arrested and fined for making pro-gay statements to underage children.

Putin also signed a law that allowed law enforcement to detain tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or "pro-gay" and hold them for up to 14 days, according to the Times.

That led to the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, issuing a statement published by the Windy City Times that it would support gay athletes in Russia.

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The Windy City Times said, though, the statement did nothing more than restate the IOC support and did not guarantee that gay athletes would not be detained or face charges just for being gay.

Related stories:

Obama Ignores Persecuted Christians

Olympics: Putin Vows No Anti-gay Discrimination in Sochi

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