Sir Elton John was “flattered” when Russian President Vladimir Putin called him to apologize after the iconic singer had fell victim to a hoax call regarding LGBT rights.
John said he was “very flattered” that Putin had reached out to him. “I look forward to a further time when I can discuss things with him face to face within the next year,” The Mirror quoted the singer as saying. "He was very gracious and he spoke good English.”
John declared on Instagram that he would like to meet Putin to talk about gay rights in Russia. The declaration came after he had believed to have got a call from the Russian president, but it later turned out to be a prank call. However, Putin called up John after he had come to know about the incident. “He apologized for the hoax call,” John said about the Russian president.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation is going to have a new partnership with the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Both the entities are going to fund $5 million each for people with AIDS and HIV in countries which are prejudiced against the LGBT community.
The program is going to focus primarily on 34 countries in Africa, where homosexuality is illegal. In some cases, people are in risk of the death penalty from the offence.
According to John, people in those countries do not have HIV tests as their country stigmatizes the disease. “They feel nervous about going on the medication, about being labelled or branded as someone with HIV, so we really have to go in and attack the root of the problem and that is the stigmatization and the lack of safe access to treatment and advice and counselling,” John told CNBC.