Madonna Sued In Russia For Gay Rights Support At Concert

Though we no longer think of Russia as the terrifying enemy they were in the Soviet Union days, they've spent a lot of time proving lately that they're very different from the United States in a lot of key ways. There was the recent Pussy Riot conviction that sent a punk band to prison for nonviolent political speech, and earlier this year a law passed that made it illegal to "promote" homosexuality to minors. Now the dangers of free speech from musicians and the country's anti-gay sentiments have collided with the one woman who seems capable of stepping into controversy no matter where she goes: Madonna.

During a concert in St. Petersburg on August 9, Madonna first spoke in support of Pussy Riot-- who had yet to be convicted-- and then asked the audience to show support for gay and lesbian rights to hold up pink armbands that had been distributed in the crowd. According to The Associated Press (opens in new tab), that move is what inspired nine activists to sue her to the tune of $10.5 million, using the St. Petersburg law against promoting homosexuality to minors and pointing out that there were children as young as 12 at the concert.

Of course, the show also included Madonna stomping on an Orthodox cross, but that's pretty much par for the course-- she's been doing that schtick since the 80s. It's unclear just how far this lawsuit will get, and of course, if this were America, you'd feel confident it would be thrown out in no time. But Russia's attitude toward free speech is apparently utterly unpredictable these days, and it's entirely possible they can nab Madonna on their insane antigay policies. Lucky for her, $10 million is pretty much a drop in the bucket, but really, it's the principle of the thing. If you've been invested in the Pussy Riot story, get ready for the Free Madonna movement too.

Katey Rich

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend