According to The Associated Press, Madonna is the subject of a lawsuit filed by nine Russians, who claim her speech violated a law passed in February that makes it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors. There were reportedly children as young as 12 at the August 9 show, and the suit — which also names the organizer of the concert and the venue where it was held, the Peterburgsky SKK complex — is seeking damages totalling 333 million rubles, or nearly $10.5 million.
The suit also included a video taken at the concert that shows Madonna “stomping on an Orthodox cross” and asking fans to raise their hands to show pink armbands in support of gays and lesbians. In her speech, Madonna called for members of Russia’s LGBT community to be “treated with dignity, with respect, with compassion, with love,” and took the country to task for recent crackdowns on LGBT protestors.
“I feel people are becoming more and more afraid of people who are different; people are becoming more intolerant,” she said. “It’s a very scary time, but we can make a difference. We can change this. We have the power. And we don’t have to do it with violence; we just have to do it with love.”
The speech came just two days after Madonna angered Russian politicians by voicing her support for jailed punk protestors Pussy Riot . After three members of the group were found guilty of “hooliganism,” she released a statement that called their two-year jail sentence “inhumane.”
“I protest the conviction and sentencing of Pussy Riot to a penal colony for two years for a 40-second performance extolling their political opinions,” the statement read. “I call on all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment. I urge artists around the world to speak up in protest against this travesty. They’ve spent enough time in jail. I call on all of Russia to let Pussy Riot go free.”
A spokesperson for Madonna could not be reached for comment about the lawsuit by press time.
What do you think of Madonna coming to the defense of punk activists Pussy Riot? Tell us in the comments.