Madonna claims she refused to pay $1m fine for making gay rights speech at Russian concert

Pop icon urged gay people to ‘be treated with dignity, respect, tolerance, compassion and love’

Adam White
Tuesday 21 July 2020 11:20
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Madonna joins protest in London

Madonna has claimed she refused to pay a $1m fine from the Russian government after talking about gay rights at a St Petersburg concert.

The pop icon performed in the city in 2012, on her MDNA tour, when she made a speech calling for equality and respect.

Madonna shared a clip of the speech on her social media yesterday (20 July), in which she is heard saying: “The gay community and gay people, here and all around the world, have the same rights to be treated with dignity, with respect, with tolerance, with compassion, with love. Are you with me?”

In a caption, which boasted the hashtags “#freedomofspeech” and “#powertothepeople”, Madonna alleged that she was fined for the comments.

“I made this speech at a concert in St Petersburg eight years ago,” she wrote. “I was fined one million dollars by the government for supporting the gay community. I never paid.”

While the Russian government has yet to confirm Madonna’s statement, a pro-Kremlin group known as The Trade Union of Russian Citizens sued Madonna for blasphemy in 2012 over the speech, and sought $10m in damages.

In a statement, a union spokesperson claimed that the star “promoted homosexuality when there were children at the concert and this is forbidden in St Petersburg”.

They also claimed that the city “suffered a colossal moral damage” because of her statements.

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