Cher declined an invitation to perform at the Russia-hosted 2014 Winter Olympics due to the country’s newly passed anti-gay law.

“I can’t name names, 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,” Cher told MacLean magazine. “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.”

The controversial anti-gay law was passed by Russian government officials in July. Among other things, the law prohibits spreading “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” If found guilty of such activity, foreigners can be fined up to $3000, face 15 days behind bars and could be exiled from the country for the indeterminate future.

As a longtime advocate of the LGBT community and the mother of a transgender son, Chaz Bono, Cher said she couldn’t in good conscious perform in a country with discriminatory laws.

Prison Break actor Wentworth Miller also recently made a stand the Russian government, and came out as gay in the process. Declining an invitation to attend the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in an open letter, he wrote: "Thank you for your kind invitation. As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes,” Miller began his letter. “However, a gay man, I must decline.”

Andy Cohen, the Bravo executive and host of Watch What Happens Live, is also refraining from visiting Russia. After hosting the Miss Universe pageant the last two years, Cohen turned down the invitation to return to his post when the contest airs live from Russia on Nov. 9.

– Chelsea Regan

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