Cher Turns Down Offer to Perform at Russian Olympics Because of Homophobic Laws

Cher Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Cher is standing up for her legions of fans, many of whom are gay, by sitting down. In a recent interview with Canada's MacLean's magazine, the legendary diva revealed that she was asked to perform at next year's winter Olympics, hosted by Russia, but refused the offer because of the country's anti-gay laws. (Russia passed a bill this summer that essentially bans the public discussion or display of gay rights in front of minors, as well as gay couples from adopting Russian-born children.)

The 67-year-old singer and Oscar-winning actress, whose son Chaz Bono is transgendered, told the magazine that her friend "who is a big oligarch over there," asked her to open the Olympics in Sochi. "I immediately said no. I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there. He said the Russian people don't feel the way the government does," she said.

Cher reiterated her feelings on Twitter, where her bio section reads "Stand & B Counted or Sit & B Nothing. Don't Litter,Chew Gum,Walk Past Homeless PPL w/out Smile.DOESNT MATTER in 5 yrs IT DOESNT MATTER THERE'S ONLY LOVE&FEAR." On Sept. 13, she tweeted, "Why? I have MANY RUSSIAN FRIENDS, THAT ARE KIND, LOVING,FUN & HAVE NOTHING AGAINST GAY FRIENDS ?" with a link to an article on PolicyMic about Russia's anti-gay bill.

The "Believe" singer isn't the only celebrity who has railed against the country's homophobic legislation. In a letter, written in August, to the organizers of the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in Russia, Prison Break star Wentworth Miller turned down its offer to attend — and publicly announced he's gay in the process. He wrote that he could not participate "in good conscience" because of the country's discriminatory laws.

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