Madonna Challenges St. Petersburg Gay Pride Ban During Tour Stop

Pop star gives away pink wristbands, speaks out during show

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MIKHAIL METZEL/AFP/GettyImages
Madonna performs in Russia.
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At her MDNA tour stop in St. Petersburg, Russia, on August 9th, Madonna challenged the city's gay pride ban by giving away pink wristbands and speaking out at her show, according to The Hollywood Reporter. St. Petersburg prohibits the "propagation of homosexuality" and "promotion of gay lifestyles," and authorities had warned Americans of violent threats.

Despite several protests, the pop star handed out pink bracelets to concert attendees in opposition to the city's policies. A sign above the stage informed concertgoers that the bracelets showed "tolerance for the gay community" and encouraged fans to wear them.

Madonna demanded "respect, tolerance and love" for the LGBT community during the show, saying, "We want to fight for the right to be free." Though she asked the crowd to raise their bracelets in support, the audience reportedly showed a mixed reaction. Later, Madonna revealed the words "No Fear" written on her back and waved LGBT flags.

Madonna's MDNA tour has caused plenty of controversy. Last week, Elton John ripped the pop star, calling her career "over." She displayed World War II-era footage of the Warsaw Uprising at a tour stop in Warsaw, Poland, in response to protests earlier this month. In July, she was booed and called a "slut" by fans at an unexpected Paris show. France's far-right National Front party announced they will file a lawsuit against Madonna for her use of Nazi imagery at a tour stop in Paris. She has also canceled the Australian leg of her MDNA tour and was recently sued over an uncleared sample on her 1990 hit "Vogue."