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Superstar Cher is the most recent celeb to turn down Russia’s request to appear at the 2014 Olympic Games.
The 62-year-old “If I Could Turn Back Time” singer sat down for an interview with Canadian magazine Maclean’s. During the interview, Cher was asked her thoughts on Russia’s strengthening anti-gay laws. “I can’t name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show,” she explained. “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.”
Cher notes that the backlash she saw for dressing differently with late husband Sonny, is one of the changing moments in her life. “Sonny was always getting into fights—people would called him 'fag' and he’d get his nose broken—only because we were dressing different,” she says. “And these were our street clothes! You can’t forget that. We tried getting on TV but the backlash against the networks was so bad, they wouldn’t invite us back.”
Cher isn’t the only star to feel that way. Openly gay Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen turned down an offer to host the Miss Universe competition because of their strict anti-gay laws.
Cohen called the country “unsafe” for gay men and women.
Additionally, Russia’s invitation to Prison Break actor Wentworth Miller to the International Film Festival was the reason behind his Miller’s decision to come out.
"I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government," Miller wrote in a letter declining the invitation, which was eventually posted on GLAAD’s website."The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.”