Pop superstar Cher found it "difficult" to turn down the chance to perform at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia because she has never been asked to appear as an ambassador for the U.S. The Believe hitmaker and gay icon recently revealed she had been asked by a friend to appear at the sporting event, but she declined the opportunity because she was not comfortable performing in a country where "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" is banned.
The Russian people that I know are great and don't agree with this (anti-gay legislation)
She tells E! News, "It was hard. I have so many Russian friends. I have lots of Russian fans and I have so many people there that I love... So that was difficult. "I wanted to, you know, no one's ever gonna ask me to come and either be the American ambassador or sing in the middle (of the Olympics) or do something in the opening, so it was hard, but also, you guys (gay fans) are my heart, you know, I can't do it...
"The Russian people that I know are great and don't agree with this (anti-gay legislation)... They just don't agree with it".
Cher isn't the only celebrity to speak out against the new legislation - Lady Gaga and Madonna used their shows in Russia last year (12) to condemn the ban and voice their support for the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Meanwhile, pop singeractress Selena Gomez was forced to axe two concerts in Russia next week (begs23Sep13) after she was denied a visa.
The permit rejection was reportedly the result of a crackdown on the number of foreign musicians granted entry into the country after Gaga and Madonna's concert stunts.