Madonna left the gun play-heavy segment of her MDNA concert intact on Thursday night at Denver’s Pepsi Center, upsetting some fans who say the pop star should have removed the section in light of the July movie theater shooting in nearby Aurora, Colorado.
The AP reports that fans called into local TV stations after the show to air their grievances over the segement, in which the pop star wields a prop gun and pretends to shoot an imaginary criminal while images of blood splattering are displayed on a backdrop. The scene takes place during Madonna’s performance of “Gang Bang,” a song off MDNA that contains the lyrics, “shot my lover in the head.”
“We all just stood there. Everybody who was around me all had shock on their face,” attendee Aaron Fransua noted. “I heard a lot of ‘wows.'” Mile High Sports Radio Denver personality Peter Burns noticed a similar reaction while in another section. “You could see people kinda looking at each other,” he said. “I heard the word ‘Colorado,’ you know, ‘Aurora,’ ‘shooting.’ You could hear people talking about it and it was little bit unsettling. I saw two or three people get up and grab their stuff and actually leave their seats.”
Madonna’s publicist, Liz Rosenberg, countered that to omit the segment was impossible because of its importance to the show. “It’s like taking out the third act of Hamlet,” said Rosenberg. “Madonna does not make things pretty and tie them up with a bow.”
Madonna has come under frequent fire for using the gun props on her MDNA tour, particularly during a summer stop in Edinburgh, Scotland soon after the Aurora shooting, where authorities claimed the singer was asked to keep the segment out of the show. Madonna released a letter soon after explaining that the weapons were “metaphors” and that she did not “condone violence or the use of guns.”