Organizers of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia reacted dismissively to news that gay icon Cher had turned down an offer to be a part of the opening ceremonies.

“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 said last week in a wide-ranging interview with Canadian weekly Maclean's. “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.”

On Wednesday, the organizing committee for the games responded by denying ever inviting Cher.

“There have never been any negotiations with Cher about her possible participation in the ceremonies,” the committee is quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal.

Preparations for the upcoming games have been overshadowed by calls to boycott the Winter Olympics over passage of two anti-gay laws. The laws, signed over the summer by President Vladimir Putin, prohibit gay and lesbian couples from adopting Russian-born children and the public promotion of gay rights where minors might be present, effectively banning Gay Pride marches and similar demonstrations. Russian officials have said that its “gay propaganda” law would be in effect at the Sochi games and that athletes or guests who violate the law will be detained.

(Related: Russian video claims gays adopt children “to satisfy their sexual desire.”)