Selena Gomez Scraps Concerts in Russia Amid Visa Controversy
Selena Gomez has canceled several concert dates in eastern Europe after Russian authorities reportedly denied the pop star's visa request.
The "Come and Get It" singer was slated to perform in Minsk, Belarus on Thursday and in Kiev, Ukraine on Sept. 21, then travel to Russia for dates in St. Petersburg on Sept. 23 and Moscow on Sept. 25. All the concerts have been erased from her itinerary.
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Organizers believe Gomez, who supports gay rights, fell victim to a controversial new law in Russia that bars "propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships" to minors. It is thought that the visa process for international musicians has become more rigid in Russia since Madonna and Lady Gaga spoke out for gay rights there last year.
In a report published Wednesday in the Russian-language RIA Novosti, an event promoter voiced optimism that the issue regarding Gomez's visa had been resolved.
"But it turned out not so simple in our country," the person said, according to a translation. "Problem is not us, the problem is -- in the bureaucratic moments."
A rep for Gomez told E! News that the singer would not be traveling to Russia. Billboard's request for comment regarding the visa and cancellations was not returned at press time.
Gomez's planned trip to Russia inspired gay rights activist John Becker to launch a Change.org petition urging the singer to "stand up for Russia's LGBT community" while in the country. More than 10,000 people have signed the petition, which has since been updated with news of the cancellations.
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"The Russian government is clearly on edge and aware of the bruising its reputation has taken in the wake of their anti-LGBT crackdown," Becker writes on LGBTQ group blog Bilerico.com.
It is unclear whether Gomez's work-visa issues extended to the governments of Belarus and Ukraine. Regardless, her canceled concert in Minsk left fans distraught.