Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Did Elton Recieve a Hoax Call from Putin?

This past weekend, the BBC ran an interview with Elton John where the singer revealed that he was angling for tea time showdown talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss LGBT rights in the country.


 People were confused. But Elton John is gay? And Vladimir Putin is Vladimir Putin? Putin would never go for that. And John would agree with that evaluation. The singer said that his request for a conversation was “probably pie in the sky... He may laugh behind my back when he shuts the door, and call me an absolute idiot, but at least I can think I have the conscience to say I tried.”

But on Monday, John quickly changed his tune. The singer posted a portrait of the typically stone-faced Putin on his Instagram, along with the caption, “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.” The Associated Press informed that John’s publicist, Gary Farrow, confirmed that the Instagram post was accurate, with Putin and John scheduled for a tete-a-tete shortly.

It was a story that seemed almost too good to be true. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, celebrated for his macho bravura, and pop star Elton John, known for his elaborate costumes, ballads and gay activism, coming together in a phone conversation that the singer said had been initiated by the Kremlin.

“Thank-you to President Vladimir Putin for reaching out and speaking via telephone with me today,” John wrote in an Instagram post on Monday afternoon that went largely unnoticed for a day. “I look to forward to meeting with you face-to-face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia. ”

Once discovered, the Instagram post went viral. Many news organizations reported John’s account. The only problem is that, according to the Kremlin, the phone call never happened.

Putin’s press secretary, Dmitri S Peskov, said late on Tuesday that Putin had never spoken to John.
“This does not correspond to reality. There was no conversation,” Peskov told journalists. He also said his office could not be sure the Instagram post was actually Elton John’s.

But, he said Putin was open to discussion about everything and he that he did not doubt the president would be willing to speak with the singer. There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy in the accounts, though some have speculated John was the victim of a prank call. John was not available for comment.

The putative conversation, which was confirmed Tuesday by a spokesman for John, evidently stemmed from a BBC interview over the weekend in which the singer spoke about music’s power to encourage tolerance.

In the interview, John said of Putin, “I’d love to sit down with him and talk to him.” He added, “The world faces much bigger problems than gay people.”

After the interview was published, Peskov said there was no meeting planned. “Taking into account that there are many insinuations of late, we regard such information with extreme caution,” he said.

- Examiner/ Irish Times

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