BANG Shown

Elton John responds to hoax

SIR Elton John thinks pranks are "funny".

Earlier this week, the 68-year-old musician accepted a call from someone he believed to be Russia's President Vladimir Putin but it was actually a hoax from TV presenters Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov, with one playing Putin and another translating his remarks.

And after learning he had been the victim of a prank, Elton - who is married to David Furnish - has stressed he is still keen to speak to the premier about

lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in a gracious response to the gag.

He said: "Pranks are funny. Homophobia, however is never funny. 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."

During the hoax call, the 'Rocket Man' hitmaker agreed to attend a gay pride parade in Moscow and spoke of his concern about violence in Russia towards members LGBT community.

He also asked for a face-to-face meeting with the president, whose country has long been blasted for its treatment of homosexuals.

Elton said: "I would welcome [dialogue] because things get done better when you see somebody and you meet them. If both our offices can find a convenient date where we can convene and have a really wonderful discussion ... that would be a miracle. It would be fantastic, and it would be a dream come true."

Afterwards he took to Instagram to post a picture of Putin and wrote: "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. @president_vladimir_putin @ejaf #lgbt #lgbtrights #ShareTheLove (sic)."

The pranksters aired a recording of the conversation on state TV, before publishing it on YouTube.

They said they couldn't resist calling Elton after the singer recent;y said he would love to discuss the issue with Putin.

They told ABC News: "We just couldn't pass up this opportunity to see what Elton John would say if he thought he was really speaking to Putin."



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