Anti-Gay Law Blamed for Cancelation of Selena Gomez Concerts

Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from Moscow Times:


U.S. pop star Selena Gomez has been forced to cancel two concerts in Russia after indirectly falling victim to Russia's anti-gay law, concert organizers said Thursday.

Gomez failed to secure a Russian visa after the government tightened the visa regime for foreign musicians in response to Madonna's and Lady Gaga's decisions to openly support gays during their shows in Russia last year, the organizers told RIA Novosti.

Russian conservatives attempted to file lawsuits against those U.S. singers in the spirit of the controversial and vaguely worded law banning the promotion of "nontraditional sexual relationships" to minors, which Russia adopted in June. Staunchly anti-gay St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov also accused Madonna of violating her visa status by engaging in "commercial activities" by receiving payments for her shows, and the Prosecutor General's Office has backed the charge, RIA Novosti reported.

The head of the Petersburg Music Industry company, Yevgeny Finkelshtein, said earlier this month that he feared the finger-pointing would discourage other performers from visiting the country.

"Not a single person is going to visit us if the Prosecutor General's Office starts disputing something or looking for guilty parties," Finkelshtein said, according to RIA Novosti.

Openly gay British pop star Elton John said earlier this week that he planned to go ahead with a Moscow concert in December because it would help serve the interests of the Russian gay community.

It remained unclear whether he had been granted a Russian visa.

Gomez, 21, had been scheduled to perform at St. Petersburg's Ice Palace on Sept. 23 and at Moscow's Olimpiisky stadium on Sept. 25. The Texan native, who has been romantically linked to pop star Justin Bieber and has appeared in more than a dozen Hollywood films, saw her technopop song "Come & Get It" go double platinum this year.

There was no immediate word on ticket refunds for the canceled concerts.

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