Pop star and actress Selena Gomez has been forced to axe two upcoming concerts in Russia after immigration officials rejected her application for a work visa.
The Come & Get It hitmaker was due to perform for fans in St. Petersburg on Monday (23Sep13) and in Moscow next Wednesday (25Sep13), but the gigs have now been pulled, according to TheMoscowTimes.com.
Reports suggest Gomez's permit was denied as Russian authorities are cracking down on the number of foreign musicians granted entry into the country after stars like Madonna and Lady Gaga used their shows there last year (12) to hit out at the nation's new anti-gay legislation.
The law bans the "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations". It has sparked an international backlash from human rights campaigners and even prompted superstar Cher to turn down the opportunity to perform at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Meanwhile, superfan and gay rights activist John Becker has launched a petition on Change.org calling on Gomez to voice her support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Russia and use her pop power to pile pressure on the government to reverse the controversial legislation.
He tells WENN, "By speaking out, Selena can let LGBT folks in Russia know that we stand with them, and that they are not alone...
"This cancellation of Selena Gomez's visa shows that the Russian government is sensitive and on the defense, and shows that the pressure from people all around the world and the backlash against these laws is strong. They're afraid to have someone like Selena Gomez come in and potentially use her platform to advance LGBT rights."