Concert organizers: Russia denies visa to Selena Gomez

Sept. 20, 2013 at 10:05 PM

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Concerts by U.S. star Selena Gomez in Moscow and St. Petersburg were canceled when she was refused a Russian visa, organizers said Friday.

Concert organizers told RIA Novosti Gomez was apparently rejected for a visa under the new law banning promotion of homosexuality. They said the government has become less willing to grant visas to foreign performers since Madonna and Lady Gaga used shows in Russia to promote gay rights.

Concerts by Gomez in Belarus and Ukraine have also been scrubbed, the Los Angeles Times reported. She was scheduled to perform Monday at St. Petersburg's Ice Palace and Wednesday at the Olimpiisky Stadium in Moscow.

Russian conservatives have been trying to prosecute Madonna and Lady Gaga, the Moscow Times said. Yevgeny Finkelshtein, who heads the company Petersburg Music Industry, said earlier this month he feared the law would keep other internationally known performers out of Russia.

Elton John, who is openly gay, said earlier this week he has no plans to cancel a concert set for December. He said he believes his presence would help Russian gays.

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