Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Lawsuit against Madonna dismissed

A Russian court has dismissed a lawsuit which sought millions of pounds in damages from Madonna for allegedly traumatising minors by speaking up for gay rights during a concert in St Petersburg.

The ruling came after a one-day hearing which bordered on the farcical.

During it, plaintiffs claimed that Madonna's so-called "propaganda of perversion" would negatively affect Russia's birth-rate and erode the nation's defence capability by depriving the country of future soldiers.

At one point, the judge threatened to expel journalists from the courtroom if they laughed too much.

In the end, the Moskovsky District Court in St Petersburg threw out the Trade Union of Russian Citizens' lawsuit and the 333 million roubles (£6.7 million) it was seeking from the singer for allegedly exposing youths to "homosexual propaganda".

Madonna did not attend the trial, and her publicist Liz Rosenberg said the star would not be commenting.

Anti-gay sentiment is strong in Russia, particularly in St Petersburg, where local legislators passed a law in February which made it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors.

Six months later, Madonna criticised the law on Facebook, then stood up for gay rights during a concert in St Petersburg which drew fans as young as 12.

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