It's quite ironic how after actor Wentworth Miller and diva Cher declined invitations from Russia to attend a film festival and open the Sochi Olympics, respectively, now there are reports that the Eurasian country has turned down a visa request by pop star Selena Gomez to stage a couple of shows there. As a result of the visa denial, the 21-year-old entertainer has canceled her supposed gigs at St. Petersburg's Ice Palace on September 23 and at Moscow's Olimiisky Stadium on September 25.
Since Madonna and Lady GaGa's onstage expression of support for the Russian LGBT community during their 2012 shows there, the Russian government has grown more cautious about concert performers coming over and openly speaking out against Russia's anti-gay legislation. They have not taken exception to Gomez, who they think will also likely use her upcoming concert as a platform to express her stance on gay rights.
It also didn't help Gomez's visa application that U.S.-based author and gay rights activist John Becker has called on the "Come & Get It" singer via a petition he launched on Change.org to take a stand for Russia's LGBT community when she performs there. Entitled "Selena Gomez: Speak Out for Equality in Moscow and St. Petersburg", the petition referencing to Russia as "one of the most anti-LGBT countries in the world" has already gained almost 10,000 supporters signing online.
"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," said Becker in a statement.