Sir Elton John said on Thursday he was "happy to be pranked" by two Russian TV hosts impersonating Vladimir Putin if it helped to highlight gay discrimination.
The 68-year old gay singer recently told the BBC that he'd like speak to the Russian president about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) rights in his country. He then took to Instagram to show appreciation after receiving what he thought was a phone call from Putin.
Except it wasn't Putin who called. It was Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov, known as 'Vova and Lexus', who admitted they had made the prank call, one impersonating Putin and the other posing as his translator.
Sir Elton, addressing the hoax, said on Instagram: "Pranks are funny. Homophobia, however is never funny."
He added: "I love Russia and my offer to talk to President Putin about LGBT rights still stands. I will always stand up for those that are being degraded and discriminated against.
"If this unfortunate incident has helped push this vital issue back into the spotlight, then I am happy to be pranked on this occasion."
After his recent meeting with the president of neighbouring Ukraine, Sir Elton called Putin's stance on gay rights "isolating, prejudiced and ridiculous".
Russia passed a law in 2013 which bans the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors", making it illegal to give children any information about homosexuality.
On the 11-minute call, Sir Elton, through a Russian translator, can be heard discussing a visit to Moscow with a man he believed was Putin. "Tell him I am extremely honoured that he is calling me," said Sir Elton. "It is a great privilege to be able to speak to one of the most influential people in the whole world."