MOSCOW: Some Russian activists have sued Madonna for millions of dollars, claiming they were offended by her support for gay rights during a recent concert in St Petersburg.
Anti-gay sentiment is strong in Russia. In St Petersburg, a law passed in February makes it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors, and the author of that law has pointed to the presence of children as young as 12 at Madonna’s concert on August 9.
Russian news agencies quote Alexander Pochuyev, a lawyer representing the nine activists, as saying the suit was filed on August 17 against Madonna, the organiser of her concert, and the hall where it was held, asking for damages totalling 333 million rubles, or nearly $10.5 million.
Responding to criticism that the plaintiffs were stuck in the Middle Ages, the lawyer said they were using civilised, modern methods to defend their rights. “No one is burning anyone at the stake or carrying out an Inquisition,” Pochuyev was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying. “Modern civilisation requires tolerance and respect for different values.”
The complaint includes a video taken at the concert showing Madonna stomping on an Orthodox cross and asking fans to raise their hands to show the pink armbands in support of gays and lesbians that were distributed among the audience, the new agency reported.
Madonna’s spokeswoman, Liz Rosenberg, did not respond to emails asking for the singer’s reaction to the lawsuit.