A Russian court has fined the promoter of a Lady Gaga concert last December for “propaganda of alcohol consumption and homosexuality” according to The Hollywood Reporter. More specifically, a Saint Petersburg-based judge says Gaga’s show violated a Russian administrative code meant to enforce the “protection of children from information that could harm their health and/or development.” Although the penalty was relatively small – 20,000 rubles (approximately $614) – the decision allows the complainant to take the promoter to criminal court.
The plaintiff in the matter was a mother named Nadezhda Petrova, who complained that her 13-year-old daughter witnessed simulated sex between two women and was encouragement to drink alcohol. Now that Petrova has won her complaint, she may seek millions of rubles for the “psychic trauma” her daughter suffered at the show. THR linked Petrova, via a post on the Russian online newspaper Gazeta.ru, to a conservative organization called the Labor Union of Russian Citizen.
Yevgeny Filkenstein, the general-director of the concert promoter, Planeta Plus, was quoted as saying, “We don’t agree with this verdict because no one listened to us. Because of these laws against gay propaganda adopted here, because of these cheap publicity tricks, all viewers suffer. Just recently, Peter Gabriel, who has never performed in Russia, refused to come because of this law and because he supported Pussy Riot.”
Earlier this year, the Russian government accused Gaga of violating her visa by performing in the country, claiming that she had only obtained a cultural exchange visa, which would not allow her to work. The complaint allegedly came from the same legislator who wrote some of Saint Petersburg’s anti-gay laws.
The Artpop singer responded with a Facebook post in support of Russia’s gay community that called for revolution. “Sending bravery to LGBTs in Russia,” she wrote. “The rise in government abuse is archaic. Hosing teenagers with pepper spray? Beatings? Mother Russia? The Russian government is criminal. Oppression will be met with revolution. Russian LGBTs you are not alone. We will fight for your freedom. Why didn’t you arrest me when you had the chance, Russia? Because you didn’t want answer to the world?”
Madonna faced similar problems last year. At an August concert in Saint Petersburg on her MDNA tour, she distributed pink wristbands and voiced support of the city’s gays. “We want to fight for the right to be free,” she said. About a week later, a group of activists filed a $10.5 million lawsuit against the singer. “We demand that she pay for moral damage suffered by St. Petersburg residents as a result of her actions during the show on August 9th,” a spokeswoman for the Union of Russian Citizens said at the time. “We must defend our right to normal cultural life without propaganda of values and views that contradict the Russian culture.”