Vladimir Krasnov and Aleksei Stolyarov owned up to prank, saying they calling the British singer this week

By Char Adams
Updated September 18, 2015 09:25 AM
Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty

Two Russian comedians, Vladimir Krasnov and Aleksei Stolyarov owned up to calling British singer Elton John this week and posing as a rep for Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying they wished to discuss LGBTQ rights in Russia, Reuters reports.

John wasn’t amused.

“Pranks are funny. Homophobia, however is never funny,” the “Rocket Man” singer wrote alongside a photo of a bruised man. “I love Russia and my offer to talk to President Putin about LGBT rights still stands. I will always stand up for those that are being degraded and discriminated against.

“If this unfortunate incident has helped push this vital issue back into the spotlight, then I am happy to be pranked on this occasion,” he wrote.

John recently met with Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko and said he’d like to speak with Putin about Russia’s treatment of the LGBTQ community.

The comedians, known in Russia for pranking celebrities and politicians, learned about the discussion and conducted the prank, with Krasnov posing as a Putin rep for 11 minutes. After the phony phone call, the 68-year-old singer uploaded a photo of Putin to Instagram, thanking the leader for the conversation.

But, on Tuesday, a Kremlin spokesman denied that Putin made the call, telling John that it may have been a prank. Russian media reported on Wednesday that Krasnov and Stolyarov admitted to being behind the hoax, according to Reuters.

In the phony call, John agreed to travel to Moscow for a gay pride event, and said that he was “extremely honored” that Putin reached out to him, Reuters reports.