Cher Says She Turned Down The Chance To Open The Sochi Olympics

The singer says she declined an offer from a “big oligarch” to perform at the opening ceremony due to the Russian government’s anti-gay laws.

Neilson Barnard / Getty

In an interview with Canadian magazine Maclean’s, Cher revealed that she recently turned down an offer to perform at the Sochi Olympic Games in protest to the government’s treatment of the LGBT community. “I can’t name names,” the singer said. “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. 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 explained that she relates strongly to people on the fringes of society because of the way that she was treated earlier in her career. “People hated Sonny and I in the early days because we looked and acted so different,” she said. “Sonny was always getting into fights — people would called him ‘fag’ and he’d get his nose broken — only because we were dressing different. 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.”

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