Elton John's Russia Concerts to Go Ahead Despite Anti-Gay Law

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Elton John

The promoters deny rumors that the gigs could be canceled under Russia's controversial anti-gay legislation.

MOSCOW -- Organizers of Elton John concerts scheduled to take place in Russia late this week have denied rumors that the shows could be canceled based on the country's controversial law against "gay propaganda."

"Contrary to groundless rumors disseminated over the Internet and in the media about possible cancelation of Elton John's performances in Russia, the promoter confirms that Elton John's shows in Moscow on Dec. 6 at Crocus City Hall and in Kazan on Dec. 7 at Tatneft Arena are to be held as scheduled," SAV Entertainment, which is organizing the gigs, said on its website.

Earlier this week, The Times of London suggested that Russian authorities could ban the shows based on the law against "gay propaganda" among minors, which was enacted in Moscow earlier this year. The singer has repeatedly said that, unlike some other Western stars who refused to perform in Russia out of protest against the legislation, he would come here to voice his support for the local gay community.

Over the last 16 months, Russian performances by Madonna and Lady Gaga, who expressed support for the gay community during their gigs, have created controversy here. The two singers' gigs in St. Petersburg in August and Dec. 2012, respectively, triggered court cases. A $10 million lawsuit against Madonna was thrown out, but the promoters of Lady Gaga's show were fined a symbolic $600.

Meanwhile, SAV Entertainment also denied The Times' claims about John's extravagant tour rider (a set of requests or demands), which allegedly included a miniature forest with live birds and diamond-adorned cutlery. The report "is false and discredits the artist's image," the promoter said.