Madonna has revealed that she was fined $1 million for speaking out about LGBTQ+ rights in Russia.
During her record-breaking MDNA tour in 2012, the pop icon released pink wristbands to audience members in St. Petersburg to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, and delivered a passionate speech about equality.
“I feel that people are becoming more and more afraid of people who are different,” Madonna said in the middle of the show. “People are becoming more and more intolerant, but we can make a difference. We don’t have to do it with violence, but love.
“I am here to say that the gay community and gay people here, and all around the world, have the same rights and to be treated with dignity, respect, tolerance, compassion, and love.”
Madonna asked the audience to raise their wristbands in show support for LGBTQ+ people and concluded: “For people quoting the Bible and using God as a defence mechanism: Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha and Moses preached this – it’s in every Holy book – ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself.’
“You can not use religion, or God’s name, to treat other people badly. So let’s go out into the world, and spread this message of love, and live our lives without fear. Amen.”
Madonna’s speech was met with widespread praise the LGBTQ+ community and mainstream media, although it was – unsurprisingly – met with fierce backlash from anti-gay Russian campaigners, who accused the Vogue songstress of promoting “homosexual propaganda”. ‘
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