Madonna Cleared by Russian Court
Plaintiffs demanded $10.7 million in damages from the music star who had expressed support for St. Petersburg's gay community.
MOSCOW – A court in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday threw out lawsuits filed against Madonna by local residents who demanded $10.7 million (333 million rubles) in damages in connection with a concert the music star played in the city last summer. The court rejected the lawsuits filed by nine individuals, each of whom demanded 37 million rubles ($1.2 million), claiming that they were insulted by the American singer’s statements and actions in support of the city’s gay community during the show.
The judge stressed that tickets for the show were marked “18+” and individuals below that age were not supposed to be in attendance, while no part of the show could have been insulting or inappropriate for individuals over eighteen.
The plaintiffs claimed that audiences were misled by pink wrist bands handed out at the entrance, which were supposed to be signs of support for the gay community – a claim that the judge also rejected.
Madonna’s show was held in St. Petersburg on August 9, just a few months after the city’s controversial regulation that bans “propagation of homosexuality” was enacted.
To show support for the local gay community, the singer and her band waved LGBT flags on stage, and during one of the songs, Madonna stripped to black lingerie, showing the words "No Fear" scrawled on her bare back.
Meanwhile, another American singer scheduled to perform in Russia is facing accusations of promoting homosexuality. Anton Belyakov, a deputy of the Russian State Duma, has sent an address to the prosecutor’s office, claiming that the show by Lady Gaga, scheduled to be held at Moscow’s Olimpiisky on Dec. 12, could be potentially harmful for audiences as some of her songs, including “Judas” and “Born This Way,” “insult religious people and propagate homosexuality.”