Singer Selena Gomez has reportedly been banned from performing in Russia due to her open support for gay rights.
The Moscow Times reports that officials have made entry into Russia for artists such as Gomez because of the country’s laws prohibiting the promotion of “non traditional sexual relationships”, which was passed in June.
The ex-girlfriend of fellow singer Justin Bieber, had been scheduled to perform in St Petersburg, one of the first cities to introduce the anti-gay legislation before it was made federal, on 23 September, and in Moscow on 25 September.
John Becker, a gay rights activist who started a Change.org petition calling on Gomez to speak out against the laws, and for LGBT Russians when she took to the stage, said he was shocked at the decision to ban her, but that he was encouraged by what it potentially represents.
“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,” he said in a statement to E! News. “They’re afraid to have someone like Selena Gomez come in and potentially use her platform to advance LGBT rights.”
In response to this decision, Lady Gaga has slammed the Russian government for its “criminal” stance on LGBT rights.
A Russian lawmaker last month took aim at Madonna and Lady Gaga, claiming that they violated their visa conditions when they performed shows in Russia, and that collecting money from their shows was therefore illegal.