madonna vows not to perform in russia over anti-gay laws

She doesn't want to perform in a country where 'being homosexual is tantamount to a crime.'

by Nick Levine
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Aug 13 2015, 4:00pm

Madonna has declared that she won't perform in Russia because of the country's anti-gay laws. Though homosexuality is not illegal in Russia, the so-called promotion of "non-traditional sexual relationships" is an offense carrying a range of hefty fines. When the singer performed in St Petersburg in 2012, she distributed pink wristbands before her concert and encouraged fans to "show your love and appreciation for the gay community." Conservative groups filed a £7m lawsuit against Madonna for her pro-LGBT stance, but it was dismissed by the Russian courts.

The singer is now rehearsing for her upcoming Rebel Heart Tour, but has added no Russian dates and told Entertainment Weekly: "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."

Vitaly Milonov, a St Petersburg lawmaker known to hold anti-gay views, has already reacted to Madonna's comments in an interview with a Russian news agency, branding the singer a "hypocritical old lady" and accusing her of favoring LGBT rights over those of children at risk, because of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Madonna isn't the first singer with an extensive gay fanbase to rule out performing in Russia because of the country's discriminatory attitude towards its LGBT citizens. Cher and Blondie's Debbie Harry both revealed that they turned down the opportunity to perform at last year's Winter Olympics in Sochi as a result of the anti-gay laws.

Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour is set to begin in Montreal on September 9 and the singer has just announced the list of designers hired to craft her stage outfits. Prada, Miu Miu, Swarovski, Gucci's Alessandro Michele, Jeremy Scott and Italian rising star Fauso Puglisi will all work on looks for Madonna, WWD reports, joined by Alexander Wang, who recently appeared in the singer's Bitch I'm Madonna video. The ever provocative performer has also enlisted pole-dancing nuns for the tour.