Russia Denies Selena Gomez a Visa Over Concerns She’ll Speak Out Against Anti-Gay Laws

Pop star Selena Gomez has canceled two concerts in Russia after being denied a visa, the Moscow Times reports:

GomezGomez 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…

…The head of the Petersburg Music Industry company, Yevgeny Finkelshtein, said Thursday 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.

Gomez was being urged to speak out for LGBT Russians via a petition, which said:

Selena Gomez knows all too well what it’s like to be bullied, and as an international pop star she has a unique platform – and a special obligation – to join other celebrities like Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Cher in speaking out against the Russian government’s bullying of LGBT people. By speaking out, Selena can let LGBT folks in Russia know that we stand with them, and that they are not alone.

John Becker, the organizer of that petition, told the HuffPost:

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.

In related news, Elton John recently said he's going to perform in Moscow in December:

"I'm supposed to be going to Moscow in December," he says. "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."

No word on the status of his visa.



    When your “democracy” feels threatened by words, it’s because it’s a totalitarian regime. Russia theatrical play, that mockery of a rigged democracy comes to an end before the eyes of those gullible enough to believe it in the first place.

  2. Fenrox says

    AWESOME! SO AWESOME! OMG! What a wonderful thing to have happen. No Selina Gomez is not some outspoken ally or anything, if anything she would totally toe the line, she works for Disney remember? But the fact that there was a petition combined with a passport worker clearly mis-using google denied her a visa. This is great because now we can get every entertainer banned! Just google bomb anyone performing in russia and the passport office will flag them. Then they will change the wording of something to fix it. Man, they are killing themselves here.

  3. Rallyx says

    This country is a MESS. Even they themselves are so insecure about their signed law that Putin has to address it countless times.

    It’s just a matter of time until this regime self destructs and all those people who are responsible for this will get what’s coming for them.

    Signing this law already made their situation even worse. It is so stupid that a country blames their population decline on gays. It’s not like criminalizing homosexuality will actually turn gay men to into a pussy-seeking armada.

    Get yourself together Russia. Or I hope your county just gets buried in the grave you’re digging on your own.

  4. UGH says

    What’s really super cool about this news is that it really makes all the commentators in the previous article about elton going to preform there look like the tards they really are !

    If eltons visa is denied it’ll be international news.

    If it isn’t, he’ll have a great deal of pressure to say something at some point, and I have a hard time believing his presence there would be anything but a positive one, as he’s a generous guy, and supports causes.

  5. Rowan says

    Guys don’t you realise that Russia’s problem has been for a long time with….FOREIGNERS? Seriously go research Russia.

    Gomez….that isn’t a ‘white’ name.

  6. says

    I have to side with Russia on this. All countries should be very careful before issuing a visa to a Mexican. I’m sure Selena is a lovely person, but if you let one in and a few decades later there are millions of them running around.

  7. EG says

    HOT HUFF AIR Andy. They are crediting the success of their hollow protests. Is this movement being run by clique? You have to laugh when Putin is holding all the cards.

    Poor Eastwood’s son. You caught a live one. We could credit “Town and Country” but the wolves sniffed him out. The funny part is he looks like most gay models who try to simulate straightness — and he doesn’t have to try. I’m sure he’d be cleared for Russian travel.

  8. Todd says

    I have such weird thoughts on this one. Elton gets a visa but Selena doesn’t? Sounds like Soviet propaganda. It goes like this, “If we allow the biggest gay on Earth (Elton) then the world must see we aren’t …cough…homophobic.” I think this is their thoughts for sure. Also, when did someone’s job (and yes, Selena’s job is an entertainer) require them to become an outspoken spokesperson for the LGBT community? We should appreciate it if they do but, it should not be expected.

  9. Topol says

    We faced this same go-no go decision with South Africa. Some athletes, notably Arthur Ashe, continued to play there because they believed their presence gave blacks hope and validated their demands for equality.

  10. miami says

    Elton has a history of working anywhere and for anyone if they are paying. Witness his performance for RUSH L. Elton is a longtime sell out from way back who is addicted to his celebrity lifestyle and standard of living, and his drugs more than to any ethics or morals. Sure he is an entertainer, but he is not a role model for anyone but for maybe the worst of the actor/singer/performer social climbers of the world.

  11. JMC says

    i think it’s fine for celebrities to promote, perform and appear in russia – so long as the celebrity in question takes the opportunity to show their support for russian gay people by trashing the gay propaganda law and donating whatever money they made from their appearance(s)/performance(s) to local gay rights groups.

    with that said, i very much doubt selena gomez was planning on donating the proceeds from her tour.

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