Anti-gay groups in Russia have sued Madonna for more than $10 million for “moral damage suffered by St. Petersburg residents” during a recent concert in the city, according to Reuters and a report from Ria Novosti, Russia’s state news agency.
Alexander Pochuyev, a lawyer representing one of the suing parties, told Ria Novosti that attendees of the concert and those who have seen videos of her performance have suffered “psychological stress and emotional shock” because of her “promotion of homosexuality.” Pochuyev also said that the pop star “trampled down” an Orthodox cross.
According to Human Rights Watch, the parliament of St. Petersburg earlier this year passed a law that bans “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism, and pedophilia to minors.”
In March, Madonna called the law a “ridiculous atrocity” and said on her Facebook page that she’d speak about it during her upcoming show.
During her August 9 concert, the singer, who turned 54 last week, told the audience that she was “here to say that the gay community and gay people here and all around the world have the same rights to be treated with dignity, with respect, with tolerance, with compassion, with love,” according to a video posted on her YouTube account.
As she was speaking, members of the audience held up pieces of paper depicting rainbow flags with the words “NO FEAR” written across them.
She also asked members of the 25,000 person crowd to hold up their arms “to show your love and appreciation of the gay community.”
The gay community in Russia has suffered a series of setbacks recently. Moscow, Russia’s capital and largest city, last week banned gay pride parades for 100 years.
This is not Madonna’s first brush with controversy during her international tour, dubbed MDNA. The singer sparked outrage last month at a concert in Paris when she showed a video depicting the leader of the far-right National Front party with a swastika on her forehead.