Madonna has been hit with a $10.5 million (£6.6 million) lawsuit by Russian anti-gay activists after speaking out in support of gay rights at a gig in St Petersburg last week (August 9).
The ‘MDNA’ star handed out pink anti-homophobia wristbands to crowd members during the show and told the audience to “fight for the right to be free” in response to a new regulation adopted in St Petersburg in March of this year, which saw the city’s yearly gay pride parade banned as it promoted “gay lifestyles” and the “propagation of homosexuality” – both of which have now been outlawed.
Now, Rolling Stone reports that a lawsuit has been submitted by members of the Union of Russian Citizens, the People’s Assembly and the New Great Russia party against the singer, with a lawyer for the group claiming that her actions caused “psychological stress and emotional shock” amongst the audience.
A spokeswoman for the Union of Russian Citizens said: “We demand that she pay for moral damage suffered by St Petersburg residents as a result of her actions during the show on August 9. We must defend our right to normal cultural life without propaganda of values and views that contradict the Russian culture.”
Meanwhile, according to the Guardian, another of the activists who has filed the suit, Alexei Kolokov, claimed:
Maybe someone does not see the link but after Madonna’s concert maybe some boy becomes gay, some girl becomes lesbian, fewer children are born as a result and this big country cannot defend its borders – for me it causes moral suffering.
Madonna has courted controversy throughout her tour of Russia. Previously, she used the Moscow-leg of the jaunt to express support for the jailed members of Russian punk collective Pussy Riot. In a speech to the 20,000 strong crowd, Madonna said: “I think they have paid the price for this act and I pray for their freedom,” before stripping to her bra to reveal the words ‘Pussy Riot’ written on her back. For ‘Like A Virgin’ she donned a balaclava similar to those worn by the band. She was later dubbed a “moralising slut” by Russian politician Dmitry Rogozin for her comments.
Yesterday, three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years imprisonment each when Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred at Moscow’s Khamovnichesky Court.