Madonna has said she will never support in Russia again, saying she doesn’t want to perform in places with homophobic laws.
‘I won’t appear in Moscow or St Petersburg anymore, because I don’t want to perform in places where being homosexual is tantamount to a crime,’ the singer told Entertainment Weekly.
While homosexuality is legal, the ‘promotion’ of it is not. Under the law, Madonna faced a $10 million fine when she supported LGBTI rights during her last tour.
In 2012, she told fans to ‘show your love and appreciation to the gay community’, had pink wristbands distributed for free to the audience and dressed in black lingerie with the words ‘No Fear’ scrawled on her bare back.
Madonna was sued, but the courts quickly dropped the case.
Some gay rights activists criticized Madonna for this, saying it would have made a bigger statement for her to refuse to perform in Russia.
Yury Gavrikov, the head of the St Petersburg branch of Gay Russia, said: ‘In Russia, [pop stars] have fantastic earnings, and this allows them to forget about the problems of human rights.
‘If people like Madonna boycott their concerts, particularly in St Petersburg, that could have economic consequences and that is important, while declarations of support for gay rights at concerts mean nothing.’
It seems like Madonna might be listening.
Her last album, Rebel Heart, topped the charts in Russia.