Elton John fell prey to a prank phone call this week from Russian comedians pretending to be Russian President Vladimir Putin, however the British musician responded to the revelation with a call for the former Soviets to respect the rights of its gay citizens.
"Pranks are funny. Homophobia, however is never funny," the star wrote Wednesday on Instagram
, including a picture of a man bloodied by gay bashers.
"If this unfortunate incident has helped push this vital issue back into the spotlight, then I am happy to be pranked on this occasion."
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov also spoke up in defense of John, condemning the pranksters — Russian comedians Vladimir "Vovan" Krasnov and Alexei "Lexus" Stolyarov — and urging them to apologize.
John is "a much respected and loved performer over here" and the hoax "was not nice," Peskov added.
The Associated Press reported
that John criticized Russia's law against gay "propaganda" last week while visiting Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, and later told British media he would "love to sit down" with Putin to discuss the safety and rights of gay Russians.
The pranksters released a recording of the 11-minute call with John in promoting their prank in the Russian media.
"We thought Putin is unlikely to call and meet him at least in the near future," the celebrity prankster Vladimir Krasnov told newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, according to NBC News
. "But Elton John turned out to have been eagerly awaiting the call and so he immediately believed in the reality of the conversation with the people we were pretending to be."
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