Madonna says she will never perform in Russia again because of the nation’s antigay laws, for which she’s predictably catching heat from some homophobic politicians.
“I won’t appear in Moscow or St. Petersburg anymore, because I don’t want to perform in places where being homosexual is tantamount to a crime,” she told Entertainment Weekly in an interview for its August 14 issue. The full interview is not online, but several websites have summarized it, including i-D and Pink News.
She spoke up for LGBT rights while performing in St. Petersburg in 2012, leading to a lawsuit, eventually dismissed, accusing her of violating the city’s law against “gay propaganda,” which was the basis for a national law enacted in 2013. She has also defended the feminist punk-rock collective Pussy Riot against the Russian government’s suppression, for which she said she received death threats, and she has denounced Russia’s antigay policies in a variety of venues.
Vitaly Milanov, the St. Petersburg city official behind its antigay law, denounced Madonna as a “hypocritical old lady” in an interview with the Russian News Agency. He “accused her of prioritising gay rights over the lives of children suffering because of the conflict in eastern Ukraine,” Pink News notes.
Madonna will open her Rebel Heart tour in September. She will perform in 35 cities in North America, Europe, and Australia.