Remember that scene in the 1999 rom-com Never Been Kissed when Drew Barrymore's character is sitting on her front steps waiting to go to the prom, and then her date drives by and throws eggs at her? Because the whole time he never actually intended to take her to the prom? That's kind of what happened to Elton John this week, when he found out what he had assumed was a kind phone call from Vladimir Putin was really just a joke orchestrated by a couple of Russian pranksters.
Earlier this week, John said in a interview with the BBC that he wanted to meet with Putin to discuss the issue of LGBT rights in Russia. Then, a few days after that, John posted an image of Putin to Instagram, thanking the Russian president for taking the time to call him and propose a future meeting. Dmitri Peskov, Putin's press secretary, then denied the conversation had ever taken place, saying, "This does not correspond to reality." Many initially speculated the whole thing was a hoax, and now, two well-known Russian pranksters, Alexei Stolyarov and Vladimir Krasnov, have claimed responsibility for the call.
On the call, Krasnov impersonated Putin while Stolyarov played the role of Peskov, who pretended to translate the conversation for John, The Guardian reports. According to Stolyarov, who recounted the story to the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, John immediately believed that the real Putin was calling and said, "Thank you, you’ve made my day. This day and this conversation has been the most wonderful and lovely in my life."
So it's been a rough week for Elton, but the event did prompt the real Peskov to say Putin would be open to a meeting. Today, via another Instagram post, John called the prank "unfortunate" but said he was glad it helped push the issue of LGBT rights in Russia "into the spotlight."