It Turns Out Elton John Was Duped: Putin Didn’t Call Him, Pranksters Did

It was too good to be true.

Earlier this week, we told you that Elton John and Vladimer Putin had spoken via telephone after the British musician told BBC that he wanted to talk to Putin about what he feels is the Russian leader’s “ridiculous,” “isolating and prejudiced” stance on gay rights.

As it turns out, it wasn’t Putin on the other line after all, rather, two Russian radio hosts who are known for their political pranks. Shortly after John posted an Instagram post thanking Putin for the call, his reps denied it was him on the line.

The next day, Russian comedians Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov took credit for the prank. When asked how they got John’s phone number, the pranksters told Russian TV host Ivan Urgant it was a “professional secret,” according to CNN.

Like he did to break the initial news of the phone call with “Putin,” John took to Instragram on the matter, posting a picture of a gay couple, one with a bloodied face. “Pranks are funny. Homophobia, however is never funny,” he captioned it. “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.”

He added, “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 then added the hashtags @president_vladimir_putin, #lgbt, #lgbtrights and #ShareTheLove.”

There’s always a silver lining in those rainbow-filled clouds.