Madonna turned 54 yesterday and as a present she is getting sued. According to Reuters, a group of Russian anti-gay activists sued American pop star Madonna for $10 million on Friday, saying she had insulted their feelings when she spoke out for gay rights at a concert in St Petersburg last week. Homosexuality, punished with jail terms in the Soviet Union, was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but much of the gay community remains underground as prejudice runs deep. Madonna should have been aware of this when she performed in black lingerie with the words “No Fear” on her back but at the same time, Madonna has always been a proponent for gay rights and a symbol of the gay community. But was this just Madonna sticking up for so many members of her loyal fan base or did she just want the press attention?
Madonna is being sued because she allegedly attacked a city law adopted in March that imposed fines for spreading homosexual “propaganda”. She had earlier called the law a “ridiculous atrocity”. The St. Petersburg propaganda law is the model for a bill that has been submitted to the national parliament but has not yet faced a vote. Critics say they fear it could be used to clamp down on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. ”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,” said Alexei Kolotkov, one of the activists who filed the suit.
Madonna handed out pink bracelets to concert attendees in opposition to the city’s policies. A sign above the stage informed concertgoers that the bracelets showed “tolerance for the gay community” and encouraged fans to wear them. She clearly knew she would get in trouble but maybe not to this extent. Madonna demanded “respect, tolerance and love” for the LGBT community during the show, saying, “We want to fight for the right to be free.” Though she asked the crowd to raise their bracelets in support, the audience reportedly showed a mixed reaction. Later, Madonna revealed the words “No Fear” written on her back and waved LGBT flags.
Her MDNA tour has called more attention for its controversy than its talented star. This is actually her second law suit. Last week, Elton John ripped the pop star, calling her career “over.” She displayed World War II-era footage of the Warsaw Uprising at a tour stop in Warsaw, Poland, in response to protests earlier this month. In July, she was booed and called a “slut” by fans at an unexpected Paris show. France’s far-right National Front party announced they will file a lawsuit against Madonna for her use of Nazi imagery at a tour stop in Paris. She has also canceled the Australian leg of her MDNA tour and was recently sued over an uncleared sample on her 1990 hit “Vogue.”
Happy Birthday Madonna indeed.