Elton John's Putin hoax
Sir Elton John's phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin was a hoax by two TV presenters.
The 68-year-old musician - who is married to producer David Furnish - accepted a call from someone he believed to be the president but it was actually presenters Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov, with one playing Putin and another translating his remarks.
During the call Elton agreed to attend a gay pride parade in Moscow and spoke of his concern about violence in Russia towards members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
He also asked for a face-to-face meeting with the president, whose country has long been blasted for its treatment of homosexuals.
Elton said: "I would welcome [dialogue] because things get done better when you see somebody and you meet them. If both our offices can find a convenient date where we can convene and have a really wonderful discussion ... that would be a miracle. It would be fantastic, and it would be a dream come true."
Afterwards he took to Instagram to post a picture of Putin and wrote: "Thank-you to President Vladimir Putin for reaching out and speaking via telephone with me today. I look to forward to meeting with you face-to-face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia. @president_vladimir_putin @ejaf #lgbt #lgbtrights #ShareTheLove (sic)."
A spokesperson for the president denied the call took place, saying: "I don't doubt that if there is such a request, the president will be ready to meet with Elton John among others to give answers to all the questions that he might ask. But we haven't received such signals yet."
The pranksters aired a recording of the conversation on state TV, before publishing it on YouTube.
They said they couldn't resist calling Elton after the singer said he would love to discuss the issue with Putin.
They told ABC News: "We just couldn't pass up this opportunity to see what Elton John would say if he thought he was really speaking to Putin."