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 today 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.
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.”
Selena had to cancel both of the tour stops and she is no longer going to Russia, and her rep tells E! News in a statement:
“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. They’re afraid to have someone like Selena Gomez come in and potentially use her platform to advance LGBT rights.”
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.
“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 onLGBTQ group blog Bilerico.com.
It is unclear whether Gomez’s work-visa issues extended to the governments of Belarus and Ukraine. Regardless her concert in Minsk, scheduled for today, was canceled leaving fans distraught and it’s so sad because her Russian fans won’t get to see her because of this.
What do you think about it, Guys? Are you surprised Selena wasn’t allowed to perform in Russia?