Elton John was tricked into believing he was on a phone call discussing gay rights with Vladimir Putin, and posted a message on his Instagram account thanking the Russian president for “reaching out and speaking via telephone.” The call turned out to be a prank pulled off by two Russian comedians. One pretended to be Putin and the other acted as a translator between the fake Putin and Elton. Elton told the pranksters that it was an honor and privilege to talk to Putin, adding that his main concern around gay rights is the issue of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. But he added that he would prefer to have a face-to-face conversation with the president rather than speak over the phone.
Elton John responded on Instagram Thursday. "Pranks are funny. Homophobia, however is never funny," he wrote. "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."