Madonna has said the Russian government fined her $1 million for speaking out about LGBTIQ rights on stage in St. Petersburg.
During her 2012 MDNA tour, Madonna offered pink wristbands to the crowd to show solidarity with the queer community.
During the concert, she delivered a passionate speech about LGBTIQ equality.
“I feel people are becoming more and more afraid of people who are different,” Madonna said.
“People are becoming more and more intolerant, but we can make a difference. We don’t have to do it with violence, but love.
“The gay community and gay people here, and all around the world, have the same rights and to be treated with dignity, respect, tolerance, compassion, and love.”
Eight years later, Madonna has revisited the moment as she posted a video of her speech to Instagram.
“8 years ago, I was fined 1 million dollars by the government for supporting the gay community… I never paid,” she wrote.
Madonna received fierce backlash from Russian anti-gay campaigners
Madonna also asked the audience at the Russian concert to raise their wristbands for the LGBTIQ community.
She then addressed people “quoting the Bible and using God as a defence mechanism” for homophobia.
“Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha and Moses preached this – it’s in every Holy book – ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’,” Madonna said.
“You can not use religion, or God’s name, to treat other people badly.
“So let’s go out into the world, and spread this message of love, and live our lives without fear. Amen.”
Madonna performed an MDNA tour date in St. Petersburg on August 8, 2012.
At the time, the viral speech received fierce backlash from anti-gay Russian campaigners, who accused her of promoting “homosexual propaganda” to children.
A group of anti-gay campaigners also sued her for $10 million for the speech. A judge later threw the suit out of court.
A year later, in 2013, Russia passed their homophobic “gay propaganda” law. The law criminalised the distribution of materials promoting same-sex relationships to minors.
Earlier this month, Russians voters approved a national referendum defining marriage exclusively as a union between one man and one woman.
Nearly 1 in 5 Russians want to “eliminate” gay and lesbian people from society, according to a survey by a Russian NGO earlier this year.
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