Russian activists sue Madonna for $10m in ‘moral damages’
The pro-Kremlin group Trade Union of Russian Citizens is taking US pop icon Madonna to court for blasphemy, and for damaging the cultural foundations of St. Petersburg, where she held her latest concert in Russia.
The activists will sue the singer on August 17 in the Moskovsky Duistrict Court in St. Petersburg, they said. They are seeking compensation of 333 million roubles (over $10 million) from Madonna, and from the company that organized the concert. “She insulted the believers’ feelings, she promoted homosexuality when there were children at the concert and this is forbidden in St Petersburg. We, the residents of the cultural capital, suffered a colossal moral damage,” union spokesperson Darya Dedova told the press. The activists plan to demonstrate video records of Madonna stepping on the Russian Orthodox Cross and asking the public to raise their hands with pink bracelets, supposedly a sign of solidarity with the LGBT community, Dedova said.According to a recently adopted St Petersburg law banning the promulgation of homosexuality to minors, the defending party will have to pay additional 50 percent of the ordered compensation as a fine that will go to the city budget if found guilty, Dedova said.The union claimed it will use the money to protect city residents from homosexuality and pedophilia. The Trade Union of Russian Citizens previously took action against Madonna on August 13, when the group filed a complaint to the city prosecutor’s office requesting an investigation into the concert. Prosecutors did not respond to the request.Another St. Petersburg public organization, Parental Control, also filed a letter to police asking that action be taken against the pop star for breaching the city’s ban on gay propaganda.Madonna’s August 7 concert in St Petersburg was preceded by small-scale protests. At the concert, Madonna voiced strong support for Pussy Riot, the punk band currently awaiting sentencing on charges of hooliganism for their ‘punk prayer’ in Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral, in protest against the Russian government and its ties to the Russian Orthodox Church.