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Tuesday
Feb112014

Cher on Turning Down Invitation to Perform at Olympics: "I Just Couldn't Do It"

Peter Kramer/NBCThe Winter Olympics are in full swing in Sochi, Russia, but some artists who were invited to perform at the event said no because of Russia's anti-gay laws.  For example, '80s new wave icons Blondie recently revealed that they said no to such an offer, citing "human rights" as the reason why.  Cher also turned down an Olympic offer for the same reason, but she's conflicted because she doesn't want her Russian fans to feel slighted.

Last year, Cher revealed to the Canadian magazine Maclean's that she was asked to participate in the Olympics and said no due to the "gay hate" in that country.  Asked if she got a lot of praise for her decision from her gay fans, Cher tells ABC News Radio, "Yeah, I did, and the truth is, I wanted to go, y'know?  There were offers of, 'Would you like to do this?  You could do this or you could do that.'  And I hadn't accepted any of it, but I was really excited about going."

She continues, "I think that the law was passed after my friends had asked me [to perform].  And I just said, 'Well, boy, I'm so out of the loop, but I can't do this.'  It wasn't that I didn't want to do it, but it was just...I couldn't do it."

But Cher also tells ABC News Radio that her Russian fans and friends are now concerned that she'll never tour their country again.  "I have close Russian friends, I have great Russian fans who are really upset now," she says.  "[They're asking], 'Does this mean the tour will never come?'  So it's hard when people that you care about are painted with the same brush."

Noting that Elton John, who is openly gay, made the decision to perform in Russia recently so he could speak out against the law, Cher says, "I guess he can do it because -- y'know -- he has a horse in the race.  But the thing I don't like is to hurt my fans, because, as they keep saying, 'We did nothing, it's not us.'  So I don't know how that can work."

Cher's Dressed to Kill tour, with opening acts that include Pat Benatar and Cyndi Lauper on various dates, gets under way March 22 in Phoenix, Arizona.  It's currently scheduled to run through July 11, and so far, there are no international dates.

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ABC News Radio