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Selena Gomez Cancels Russian Concerts After Being Denied Visa Amidst Anti-Gay Speculation
AP Pop star Selena Gomez was forced to cancel two concerts in Russia today after government officials denied her visa, reportedly related to stricter transit laws for foreign artists linked to the country's controversial anti-gay legislation. The singer had been slated to perform at St. Petersburg's Ice Palace on Sept. 23 and Moscow's Olimpiisky Stadium on Sept. 25. Prior to the cancelation of these two shows, Gomez was facing pressure to take a stand on LGBT rights in the former Soviet Union as the subject of a Change.org petition. The petition called on Gomez to speak out and "let LGBT folks in Russia know that we stand with them, and that they are not alone." It reached over 1,000 signatures before the news of Gomez's denied visa became public. John Becker, petition author and LGBT blogger at Bilerico, said in a statement to The Huffington Post:
This shows that the Russian government is on edge, it's nervous, and it's aware of the bruising its reputation has taken in the wake of their anti-gay crackdown. For the first time since the end of the Yeltsin administration, more Americans have a negative perception of Russia, and it's clear that the country's crackdown on LGBT rights has made a difference here. This cancellation of Selena Gomez's visa shows that the Russian government is sensitive and on the defense, and shows that the pressure from people all around the world and the backlash against these laws is strong. They're afraid to have someone like Selena Gomez come in and potentially use her platform to advance LGBT rights. According to a story on German site Spiegel(translated by The Huffington Post): "The concert organizer Jewgeni Finkelschtejn warned that the new rules would harm the country tremendously. There is a risk that prominent artists could renounce performances in Russia in the future, he said to the state agency Ria Novosti." Russia has been the subject of international critique and scrutiny for its series of antiLGBT legislation, including a "gay propaganda" law and a proposed bill that would remove children from the homes of their LGBT parents. Not only have vigilantes allegedly interpreted the law as personal agency to publicly attack and openly despise their LGBT neighbors, but internationally-known entertainers with ties to the gay community have become targets for Russian officials and their homophobic campaign. In early August, Russian officials announced that Lady Gaga and Madonna had violated their visas while touring in the country last year, and asserted that the two pop stars had breached the country's "gay propaganda" law. Lady Gaga later tweeted about the legal accusations, saying: "Sending bravery to LGBTs in Russia. The rise in government abuse is archaic. Hosing teenagers with pepper spray? Beatings? Mother Russia?... The Russian government is criminal. Oppression will be met with revolution. Russian LGBTs you are not alone. We will fight for your freedom." As a result, other prominent Western entertainers and LGBT allies have been forced to take a stand on whether or not to perform in Russia in the wake of the controversy. Gay icon Cher recently announced that she turned down an invitation to perform at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics this upcoming February. Conversely, Elton John stated in a recent interview that he planned to travel to Russia in December to hold a concert despite the country's anti-LGBT crackdown, stating: I’ve got to go. And I’ve got to think about what I’m going to say very carefully. There’s two avenues of thought: do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you’re really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation. As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ve got to go. John did not discuss whether he had been granted a visa for entry into Russia at the time.
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Tilda Swinton A photograph of the Academy Award-winning actress defending Russia's beleaguered lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community by holding a rainbow flag in front of Moscow's Kremlin was released with the following statement via her spokesperson: "In solidarity. From Russia with love." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/05/tildaswinton-rainbow-flag-russia-_n_3550360.html" target="_blank">Read the full story here</a>. Seth Wescott "The human rights stuff that's going on, there's a potential for it to be an incredibly negatively-overshadowed Olympics," the two-time gold medal winning snowboarder told the Associated Press. Of his gay friends in snowboarding, he noted, "They're wonderful human beings, and I think for them to be discriminated against is a crime." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/12/seth-wescott-russia-gaylaw-_n_3913225.html" target="_blank">Read the full story here</a>. Madonna The Material Girl sparked controversy when she spoke out in defense of Russia's LGBT community during a St. Petersburg stop on her MDNA World Tour last year. Performing in black lingerie with the words "No Fear" scrawled on her bare back, Madonna urged the audience -- most wearing pink wrist bands distributed at the door -to "show your love and appreciation to the gay community." "We want to fight for the right to be free," she said at the time, Reuters reported. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/09/madonna-st-petersburg-russia-gay-right s_n_1762135.html" target="_blank">Click here for the full story</a>. Johnny Weir The U.S. figure skater (pictured on left, with husband Victor Voronov) has spoken out against a planned boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, warning that those hurt most would be the athletes who have "dedicated their lives to possibly having their lone life-changing moment." "The Olympics are not a political statement, they are a place to let the world shine in peace and let them marvel at their youthful talents," he wrote. "I respect the LGBT community full heartedly, but I implore the world not to boycott the Olympic Games because of Russia’s stance on LGBT rights or lack thereof." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/26/johnny-weir-russia-olympics-boyott-_n_3659423.html" target="_blank">Click here for the full story</a>. Lady Gaga "The Russian government is criminal," the Mother Monster tweeted in August. "Oppression will be met with revolution. Russian LGBTs you are not alone. We will fight for your freedom." She also noted: "Sending bravery to LGBTs in Russia. The rise in government abuse is archaic. Hosing teenagers with pepper spray? Beatings? Mother Russia?" <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/05/lady-gaga-russa-lgbt_n_3708608.html" target="_blank">Click here for the full story</a>. Blake SkjellerupThe New Zealand speed skater, who is openly gay, told HuffPost Live's Josh Zepps that a boycott would hurt the athletes themselves more than Russia. "I don't support a boycott at all," he said. "I believe the greatest way to bring about change is to have a presence. Being present in Sochi is going to be greater for the cause than not being there at all." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/01/blake-skjelleru-russia_n_3689573.html" target="_blank">Click here for the full story</a>.
CherThe legendary singer-actress said she turned down the chance to perform at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi because of Russia's anti-gay law. "I can’t name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show," Cher told Maclean's writer Elio Iannacci. "I immediately said no. I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/13/cher-sochi-olympis-russia_n_3921419.html" target="_blank">Click here for the full story</a>. Nick SymmondsAfter winning a silver medal at the World Track & Field Championships in Moscow on Aug. 13, the American middle distance runner openly dedicated the victory to his gay and lesbian friends in his home country. The act reportedly makes Symmonds the first athlete to critique and oppose Russia's anti-gay legislation while in Russia. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/14/nick-symmonds-gas-russia_n_3755462.html" target="_blank">Click here for the full story</a>. Greg LouganisThe Olympic diving champion rejected the possibility of a boycott against the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia in a Policymic editorial. "Boycotting sends the wrong message and will only harm the hard-working athletes set to compete in the 2014 Olympics, not the Russian government itself," he wrote. "I know from personal experience. My first Olympics I won Silver at age 16, and then in 1980, at the height of my diving career, President Jimmy Carter opted to boycott the 1980 Olympics in Moscow as a method of protesting the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. The toll on fellow athletes and me was devastating." <a href="http://www.policymic.com/articles/58481/i-m-n-openly-gay-gold-medalist-and-i-reject-the-sochi-olympics-boycott" target="_blank">Click here for the full story</a>. Contribute to this Story: Send us a tip Send us a photo or video Suggest a correction
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Selena Gomez scraps Russian gigs after visa denial
© Startraks Photo/Rex Features -- Selena Gomez Selena Gomez scraps Russian gigs after visa denial Sept. 19, 2013, 8:08 PM EST
WENN Pop star and actress Selena Gomez has been forced to ax two upcoming concerts in Russia after immigration officials rejected her application for a work visa. The "Come & Get It" hit maker was due to perform for fans in St. Petersburg on Monday and in Moscow next Wednesday, but the gigs have now been pulled, according to TheMoscowTimes.com. Reports suggest Gomez's permit was denied as Russian authorities are cracking down on the number of foreign musicians granted entry into the country after stars like Madonna and Lady Gaga used their recent shows there to hit out at the nation's new anti-gay legislation. The law, which was implemented in June, bans the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations." It has sparked an international backlash from human rights campaigners, and even prompted superstar Cher to turn down the opportunity to perform at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Also: Life lessons: Artists on the big 'aha' moments shaping their music Meanwhile, superfan and gay rights activist John Becker has launched a petition on Change.org, and called on Gomez to voice her support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Russia, and use her pop power to pile pressure on the government to reverse the controversial legislation. He tells WENN, "By speaking out, Selena can let LGBT folks in Russia know that we stand with them, and that they are not alone. ... This cancellation of Selena Gomez's visa shows that the Russian government is sensitive and on the defense ... the pressure from people all around the world, and the backlash against these laws, is strong. They're afraid to have someone like Selena Gomez come in and potentially use her platform to advance LGBT rights."
Selena Gomez's Visa Denied by Russia—Reportedly Over Gay Rights Stance
If Selena Gomez wants to perform in Russia, she might try pulling an Edward Snowden—because that may be the only way she's likely to gain entry. Promoters for a pair of concerts the "Come & Get It" crooner had scheduled in the country for later this month have told The Moscow Times that Russian officials have turned down her visa request, forcing her to scrap the gigs. Organizers cited Russia's new anti-gay law as one of the reasons for Gomez's rejection, since Russian authorities have been tightening travel restrictions for performers who speak out in favor of gay rights. NEWS: Madonna ignores threats in Moscow, gives shout-outs to jailed Russian punk band The 21-year-old singer-actress was supposed to play St. Petersburg's Ice Palace on Sept.
23 and Moscow's Olimiisky stadium on Sept. 25. A rep for Gomez now tells E! News she's not going to Russia. The news that Russian officials rebuffed Justin Bieber's ex is no doubt disappointing to her fans in the former communist nation. But to U.S.-based author and gay rights activist, John Becker, who launched a petition on Change.org calling on Gomez to stand up for Russia's LGBT crowd when she took the stage there, the government's decision was a sign the administration of President Vladimir Putin is feeling the heat over its anti-gay policies. NEWS: Lady Gaga slams Russia's "criminal" attitude toward the LGBT community "This cancellation of Selena Gomez's visa shows that the Russian government is sensitive and on the defense, and shows that the pressure from people all around the world and the backlash against these laws is strong," Becker told E! News in a statement. "They're afraid to have someone like Selena Gomez come in and potentially use her platform to advance LGBT rights." His Change.org petition has so far gained 8.422 signatures as of press time. The visa denial comes after Madonna and Lady Gaga gave very public shout-outs during their 2012 shows expressing solidarity with Russia's LGBT community. In the wake of an outcry from anti-gay politicians, the government subsequently threatened the Material Girl and Mother Monster with potential prosecution for allegedly failing to obtain the appropriate visas to enter and perform in Russia. And Madonna was even sued by some conservative Russian activists who accused the Queen of Pop of promoting homosexuality to children at her Aug. 9, 2012 concert in violation of a new law prohibiting gay "propaganda." PHOTOS: Hollywood gets political
Not coming to get it: Selena Gomez denied visa to perform in Russia... as its anti-gay laws are to blame
By Debbie Emery PUBLISHED: 17:45 EST, 19 September 2013 | UPDATED: 17:55 EST, 19 September 2013
0 View comments Pop star Selena Gomez won't be performing in Russia any time soon, and concert organizers are blaming the Eastern European country's anti-gay laws as the reason for her denial.
The Come & Get It singer was scheduled to host a pair of shows later this month, but Russian officials turned down her visa application, forcing her to cancel the concerts. Their reason for the refusal is reportedly fear that the 21-year-old will follow in the footsteps of Madonna and Lady Gaga and speak out about gay rights during the show.
Denied: Selena Gomez (pictured here in Belgium on September 4) won't be performing in Russia since her visa has been refused Selena had been set to play at St. Petersburg's Ice Palace on September 23 and Moscow's Olimiisky stadium on September 25, but a rep told E! News that she will no longer be attending. Russian conservatives attempted to file lawsuits against both of those pop phenomena in the spirit of the controversial and vaguely worded law banning the promotion of 'nontraditional sexual relationships' to minors, which Russia adopted in June, reported the Moscow Times. The Material Girl and the Poker Face singers each gave very public shout outs in 2012 against the laws to show their support of the LBGT community, leading to the threat of prosecution by the former Eastern Bloc government.
Potential controversy: Russian authorities reportedly feared that the 21-year-old would speak out against their anti-gay laws Madonna was even sued by some conservative Russian activists, who accused her of promoting homosexuality to children at her August, 2012 concert in violation of a new law prohibiting gay 'propaganda,' reported E! News. Russian fans are now concerned that the rebuttal will deter other pop stars from visiting the country in the future. 'Not a single person is going to visit us if the Prosecutor General's Office starts disputing something or looking for guilty parties,' said head of the Petersburg Music Industry company, Yevgeny Finkelshtein, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. Legal threat: Both Madonna and Lady Gaga caused outrage when they spoke out in favour of the LGBT community last year Elton John revealed 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, but it is unclear as yet if he has been issued a visa. Meanwhile, Selena will be heading to Dubai to perform on September 27, and revealed her excited on Twitter. 'Dubai Music Week I'm comin.. :)' she tweeted on Sunday. The star-studded event comes hot on the heels of her European tour, which sent Justin Bieber's ex-girlfriend to Spain, Germany, Lisbon, Paris and Belgium.
Busy lady: After lighting up stages in Europe, Gomez will soon perform at Dubai Music
Justin who? Selena Gomez performs racy show in Italy... as she's linked to Union J's George Shelley
By Shyam Dodge PUBLISHED: 00:41 EST, 17 September 2013 | UPDATED: 06:20 EST, 17 September 2013
72 View comments She made headlines in June when she flirted with the teen idol during an interview. And now it seems Selena Gomez is dating Union J's George Shelley as the two enjoyed a romantic evening in Portugal together last week. The 21-year-old was surely thinking of her new flame as she gave one of her raciest performances to date in short shorts and leather boots on Monday in Milan, Italy. Scroll down for video
Sultry dance: Selena Gomez performed a racy number for her show in Milan, Italy, on Monday
Bieber's replacement: Union J heartthrob George Shelley is reported to have spent the
night with Selena last week in Portugal, pictured in Birmingham, England, at the end of August The Stars Dance singer strutted around the stage as she let her brunette mane fly wildly about her. Sporting large gold hoop earrings, the former Disney princess swayed her hips seductively as she balanced herself in the aforementioned stiletto boots. The sensual mood of her show was most surely due to a recent tryst with 20-year-old Shelley. She's got the moves: The 21-year-old swayed her hips onstage for the Italian audience
The girls: Selena's back up dancers ran circles around her According to The Sun, The Spring Breakers star flew out young George along with his bandmates to be the opening act for her performance in Portugal on Wednesday.
The paper reports that after the sold out show Gomez spent the evening with Shelley alone in her hotel room. 'Everyone else left the room at 2 a.m. so they were able to spend the night together,' a source told the publication.
Belting it out: The Come And Get It singer showed off her vocal power
Giving them a treat: Gomez appeared to offer her fans a truly heartfelt performance The insider went on to reveal that Shelley actually missed his return flight the following morning with his bandmates.
But the source claims: 'Nobody was annoyed with George. After all, he's been pursued by one of the biggest pop stars in the world,' Adding: 'It's any lad's dream come true.'
Eager beavers: Gomez's adoring public could not wait to catch a glimpse of their idol in person
Bringing it down: The Stars Dance hitmaker got sultry And in August George told The Mirror of his planned trip to Portugal to hook up with
Selena. The adorable pop sensation said at the time he had a 'beach bonfire' date in mind for the Come And Get It singer. Meanwhile, in June the in-demand star publicly flirted with Shelley in a pre-taped appearance on CBBC’s Download.
Cooing: The former Disney princess let her mane fly out wildly onstage
Come and get it: Selena was clearly caught in the moment as she sang with her eyes
Dance number: The singer stepped through her number in a pair of stiletto boots 'I was in London for a bit and I’m actually really bummed I missed you,' Selena said addressing the Brit. 'So next time, maybe give me a call?'
The alleged romance comes after Selena finally called it quits on her two year on/off relationship with mega star Justin Bieber. Speaking to the New York Daily News, Selena recently admitted she finds it hard to ignore the constant rumours and speculation surrounding her private life - especially when it regards Bieber.
The boys: Union J's Jamie Hamblett, Josh Cuthbert, Shelley and James Hensley pictured in Liverpool in July ‘It does get to me,’ she said. ‘I'm a human and I feel those emotions of when people talk about you. It's never a good feeling ‘cause half the time it's just bull, it's not real.’ ‘In the real world I'll drive my car to the grocery store and buy myself some food. In the media world it's like, 'Oohhh, I drive my car to go somewhere secretive.' It gets too clouded
so I just have good people around me. I'm very picky,’ she revealed. ‘The hardest part (is) just trying to find someone that will just love the core person and not anything else around it.’
Former flames: Selena pictured with ex Justin Bieber at the Teen Choice Awards in 2012 Meanwhile, the superstar is heading to cities all across Europe on her Stars Dance tour and will then return back to the USA in October. Away from music Selena has been promoting new film Getaway, in which she stars alongside Hollywood stars Ethan Hawke and Jon Voight. Despite her best efforts the thriller has failed to make an impact at the box-office, with critics lining up to give it a mauling following its US release on August 30.
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