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Russian court denies Madonna was fined $1 million for unapologetic queer rights speech on-stage in St Petersburg

Lily Wakefield July 22, 2020
Madonna Russia

Madonna performs on stage during her MDNA tour at St Petersburg's Sports and Concert Complex on August 9, 2012. (OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty)

A court in St Petersburg has denied that Madonna was fined $1 million for supporting LGBT+ rights during a concert in Russia.

Madonna delivered a rousing speech in support of the queer community during a pause in her sold-out 2012 St Petersburg concert as part of her MDNA tour.

She said that “the gay community, and gay people, here and all around the world, have the same rights”, and called for queer people ” to be treated with dignity, with respect, with tolerance, with compassion, with love”.

Madonna also distributed pink wristbands to fans at the concert who wanted to support the queer community in Russia, and told them: “It’s in every holy book, love thy neighbour as thyself. You cannot use religion to treat other people badly.

“Let’s all go out into the world and spread this message of love, and live our lives without fear.”

This week, the singer shared a clip of the speech on Twitter and claimed that she was fined $1 million by the Russian government, but she never ended up paying.

Now, the Russian government has denied that the “Vogue” singer was ever fined.

Anti-LGBT+ groups in Russia tried to file a lawsuit against Madonna after the concert, which was even subject to a terror threat, but St Petersburg officials insisted that they dismissed the suit and that the singer was never fined.

The press service for the city’s courts told TASS: “In 2012, the Moskovsky District Court dismissed the lawsuit of activists against Madonna, which contained a demand for a fine of 333 million rubles (£3.7 million).”

Nine anti-LGBT+ activists reportedly tried to sue Madonna, insisting that she should be fined for causing emotional distress.

St Petersburg officials said the case was heard without Madonna or her defence attorneys present, and admitted that at the time they were not even sure if she was aware that she was being sued.

More: gay propaganda, Madonna, MDNA, Russia, St Petersburg

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