President Vladimir Putin did not have a phone conversation with Elton John, who has said he wants to talk to him about gay rights, the Kremlin says.
Elton John had said he wanted to talk to Vladimir Putin about his “ridiculous” stance.
Later, a message on Elton John’s Instagram account thanked Vladimir Putin for “reaching out” in a phone conversation.
However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no conversation between Elton John and the Russian president had taken place – and hinted that the call could have been a hoax.
Elton John’s Instagram message added: “I look forward to meeting with you face to face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia.”
The pop star’s office said that the two men had spoken.
But Dmitry Peskov told reporters that reports of a conversation were “not true”.
“I don’t know who spoke to Elton John but President Putin did not speak to him,” he said.
“I don’t know [what happened] but President Putin did not speak to Elton John and most importantly we didn’t receive any proposals to meet.”
Dmitry Peskov added: “If the president does get such a signal from Elton John, the president has always been open to discuss any… human rights problems, any issues. He is always ready to clarify the real situation.”
Russia has faced international criticism for its homophobic laws.
A report by Human Rights Watch in 2014 said Russia was failing to prevent and prosecute homophobic violence amid a rise in attacks against minorities.
During a recent interview, Elton John admitted he thought it was unlikely he would meet President Vladimir Putin.
“It’s 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.”
Victoria Beckham has joined Courtney Love, Ricky Martin and other stars in backing Elton John after fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana criticized same-gender couples having children and the use of IVF fertility treatment.
Elton John, who has two sons with David Furnish through a surrogate, posted on Instagram that everyone should boycott Dolce and Gabbana following the comments.
It wasn’t long until the #BoycottDolceGabbana hashtag was trending on Twitter.
Victoria Beckham tweeted: “Sending love to Elton David Zachary Elijah & all the beautiful IVF babies x vb.”
In an interview with Italian magazine Panorama the fashion designers said they didn’t agree with the idea of gay families.
Domenico Dolce said: “You are born to a mother and a father – or at least that’s how it should be.
“I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalogue.”
Ricky Martin, who has 6-year-old twins Matteo and Valentino born via a surrogate, also backed Elton John campaign.
People with children born through IVF have also joined the campaign posting family pictures across social media.
Stefano Gabbana has now said “it was never our intention to judge other people’s choice”.
“We do believe in freedom and love,” Stefano Gabbana added.
Elton John married his long-term partner David Furnish in a ceremony at Windsor estate in Berkshire, the UK.
A number of stars attended the ceremony. Among them were David and Victoria Beckham, Ed Sheeran and David Walliams.
David Furnish and Elton John, who have two sons together, became civil partners in 2005.
The couple’s sons Zachary, who was born in 2010, and Elijah, born last year attended the ceremony.
One image – showing the newlyweds holding hands, with Elijah standing between them – bears the caption: “Zachary grabs David’s iPhone and takes a photo of his brother while we exchange our vows.”
Elton John has been including the hashtag #ShareTheLove on his Instagram posts on December 21.
Photo Instagram Elton John
Friends of the couple have also been using the tag, with the Beckhams’ eldest son Brooklyn writing: “Amazing day with family and special friends congratulations Uncle Elton and Uncle David #ShareTheLove.”
The teenager posted a photograph of the wedding lunch menu, which included wild mushroom soup with truffle cream, beef short rib and caramelized onion pie and warm chocolate pudding with ice cream. Guests were served Laurent-Perrier champagne.
Elton John has posted a number of pictures on Instagram, where he has thousands of followers, including a picture taken at a window showing a garden, with the caption: “Good morning! Nice day for a wedding.”
He later wrote: “The tables look stunning! We had red roses at our Civil Partnership 9 years ago and they brought us so much luck.”
On December 21, 2005, Elton John and David Furnish held a civil partnership ceremony at the Windsor Guildhall.
In March, the law was changed in England and Wales to allow same-gender marriage.
Elton John has announced that he is to marry his partner David Furnish after a change in the law in England and Wales to allow same-gender weddings for the first time.
Elton John told Today Show: “We’ll do it very quietly. But we will do it and it will be a joyous occasion.”
David Furnish also told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the ceremony would take place in an English register office in May.
Elton John and David Furnish have been in a civil partnership since 2005 but the law changed on Saturday to allow marriage.
Elton John is to marry his partner David Furnish in May
“I’m very proud of Britain and the laws that we’ve seen come into existence since we’ve been together,” Elton John said.
“Having our civil partnership was an incredible breakthrough for people that have campaigned for a long time – through the ’60s and the ’50s in England when it was so hard to be gay and hard to be open about it. And it was a criminal act.
“So for this legislation to come through is joyous, and we should celebrate it. We shouldn’t just say, <<Oh, well we have a civil partnership. We’re not going to bother to get married>>. We will get married.”
David Furnish added: “We don’t feel the need to take an extra step legally. But since we’re committed for life, we feel it’s really important to take that step, and take advantage of that amazing change in legislation. We all live by example.”
Sir Elton John and David Furnish have two sons together – Zachary, born in 2010, and Elijah, born in 2013.
Elton John’s concerts in Russia “will go ahead as planned” despite concerns over the country’s crackdown on gay rights, the Russian promoters announced.
In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a national law banning the “propaganda of homos**uality” to minors.
Elton John vowed last month to raise the issue on stage when he plays tonight’s sold out date in Moscow and a show in the Volga city of Kazan on Saturday.
Elton John’s concerts in Russia will go ahead as planned
The singer said he also planned to “meet with the LGBT community” there.
Russian promoters, SAV Entertainment, issued a statement reassuring fans that the two shows would be going ahead.
“Despite the groundless rumors spread by the internet and media that Elton John’s concerts in Russia could be cancelled, the organizer assures you that Elton John’s shows in Moscow and Kazan will go ahead as planned,” it said.
Elton John will be the first major Western star known for his support of gay rights to play in Russia since the new law, which critics fear could be used to ban any gay rights event.
Elton John has decided to postpone a series of summer festival dates after being diagnosed with appendicitis.
According to his website, Elton John called in doctors after falling ill during his current European tour.
The statement added he was on a course of “intensive antibiotics” and was expected to undergo surgery “in the coming weeks”.
Elton John was due to play a festival in Italy on Tuesday, as well as shows in Germany and London this week.
Elton John has decided to postpone a series of summer festival dates after being diagnosed with appendicitis
The statement said the diagnosis was made “following a number of exploratory scans and blood tests with his medical team in the UK”.
A spokesman confirmed Elton John would not return to touring until he had fully recovered from both the planned surgery and any damage caused by the appendix abscess.
“Elton is incredibly disappointed to postpone these tour dates,” he said.
“To know that he made such super-human efforts and continued to perform to thousands through his illness only confirms his dedication to his European fans.
“He is eager to be back on top form and return to play the remaining shows starting in early September 2013.”
Elton John had been due to perform at the Collisioni festival in Italy on Tuesday, with further shows in Germany on Thursday and a headline gig at London’s Hyde Park on Friday.
British Summer Time festival organizers AEG Live said the Hyde Park show would still go ahead with Elvis Costello and former Kinks frontman Ray Davies on the bill, with existing ticket holders receiving a full refund.
Other July dates now scrapped include festivals in Spain, France and Monaco.
Elton John is due back in the UK in September, performing at the First Direct Arena in Leeds and at Bestival before heading back to Las Vegas for a month-long residency at The Colosseum.
As Hugo Chavez’s death was announced on Tuesday, Saturday Night Live wasted no time mocking the Venezuelan leader’s time in power during the show’s opening sketch this week.
Featuring Justin Timberlake imitating Elton John, SNL skit took place at a memorial for Hugo Chavez, who died on Tuesday at the age of 58 after a long battle with cancer.
Justin Timberlake was singing an updated version of Elton John’s classic song Candle in the Wind in tribute to Hugo Chavez and some of the crazy, real-life, aspects from his 14 years in power.
“And it seems to me like you lived your life like a candle in the wind,” Justin Timberlake sang in a pitch-perfect imitation of Elton John before ending the chorus with the following joke: “If a candle could pull out two pistols at a press conference.”
Another hilarious line from the song was: “You said the U.S. causes earthquakes and you outlawed Coke Zero.
“And on your shoulder sat your parrot with a matching red beret.
“You had your own T.V. show, it was called <<Hello, President>>.
“It wasn’t about politics, you sometimes danced and made up raps.
“You helped make your country the kidnapping capital of the world and also increased milk production.”
Featuring Justin Timberlake imitating Elton John, SNL skit took place at a memorial for Hugo Chavez, who died on Tuesday at the age of 58 after a long battle with cancer
Justin Timberlake also included Hugo Chavez statement that “Capitalism killed Mars” when the Socialist firebrand said that a society had taken root on the planet but capitalism had wiped out its water supply.
Justin Timberlake was also the show’s musical act. The episode featured an unusual amount of guests stars including Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd and Andy Samberg.
Elton John is suing The Times for libel over articles he says falsely linked him to immoral tax avoidance.
In two articles by-lined “the secrets of tax avoiders”, the Times stated Patrick McKenna of Ingenious Media was Elton John’s former accountant.
Papers filed at the High Court said the article implied Elton John had been advised to engage in tax avoidance.
The Times has already published a correction, acknowledging that Patrick McKenna had never been the star’s accountant.
Elton John is suing The Times for libel over articles he says falsely linked him to immoral tax avoidance
However, Elton John’s lawyers described the correction, published on 22 June, as “wholly inadequate”.
They said the four-line apology did not have equal prominence to the original articles, which appeared on pages one and six of the newspaper, adding that it “deliberately ignored the defamatory impact” of the original article.
William McCormick QC stated in Elton John’s writ that the pop star was concerned about the effect of the Times articles on his charity work.
“The allegations are particularly damaging to the claimant’s reputation in the sphere of charity fundraising,” he said.
Elton John’s lawyers said the articles caused their client “severe damage to his reputation and personal distress and embarrassment” and they would be seeking damages for “the sense of insult and injury”.
In the original articles, published on 21 June, The Times had discussed the use of film finance partnerships arranged by Ingenious Media, where Patrick McKenna is CEO.
But last month, The Times issued a clarification: “We have been asked to make clear that the film finance partnerships arranged by Ingenious Media, whose CEO is Patrick McKenna, do not offer schemes of this type and they have not been involved in moving money offshore to avoid tax.
“It was not our intention to make such an allegation and we are happy to make the position clear.”
The Times and Elton John were not available for comment at the time of writing.