Madonna dodges $10 million fine as Russians drop gay gag case
Judge dismisses lawsuit which claimed Material Girl's MDNA concert in St Petersburg could lead to breakdown of Russian society
A $10 million Russian lawsuit against Madonna has been dropped after a court ruled the pop superstar didn’t break St Petersburg’s infamous ‘gay gag’ law.
Nine anti-gay activists from the Trade Union of Russian Citizens claimed the Material Girl ‘brutally violated’ a city law that imposes fines for spreading homosexual ‘propaganda’.
During the MDNA gig in August, Madonna told fans to ‘show your love and appreciation to the gay community’, had pink wristbands distributed to the audience and dressed in black lingerie with the words ‘No Fear’ scrawled on her bare back.
Plaintiff Marina Yakovlyeva told the court today (22 November) that she feared the star’s actions would set a precedent for future visiting artists.
The six-hour hearing also heard the plaintiffs argue the singer’s concert could lead to the break down of society and the family, with an increase in divorce and Russia’s youth becoming more interested in filth than childbearing.
But the judge eventually threw out the case after losing his temper at being shown shaky footage of Madonna’s concert as evidence, according to a live report by the Russian Legal Information Agency.
‘How many families split up because one of the couple is gay?’ asked Judge Vitaly Barkovsky.
‘And how many because of alcoholism? How many lawsuits have you filed against alcohol companies?’
Madonna did not attend the hearing, despite a court summons allegedly sent to her New York home in October.
The St Petersburg law punishes ‘homosexual propaganda’ in public alongside pedophile propaganda with fines of up to $15,600, and is designed to protect children from positive messages about LGBT people.
The country has seen increasing intolerance and hostility toward the gay community, with anti-gay ‘propaganda’ laws passed in several cities including St Petersburg, pride marches banned in Moscow for 100 years and attacks on gay clubs in the capital.