Are Lady Gaga & Madonna in Trouble With the Russian Government?
Last year, two of the most famous pop divas in music performed in St. Petersburg, Russia, when the city was one of the few regions in the country to enforce the highly controversial "homosexual propaganda bill." Now, after several months have gone by and the entire country enforces the law, Lady Gaga and Madonna may be in hot water with the Russian government for violating the measure, the Huffington Post reports.
Russian officials are apparently re-opening an investigation on Mother Monster, shortly after she announced details on her third album "ARTPOP" and single "Applause."
Russian politician Vitaly Milonov, who has gone on record saying recently that the government will not suspend the "homosexual propaganda" law during the Sochi Olympic Games next year, will look into whether or not the singer violated the measure and "promoted gay propaganda" while performing in St. Petersburg last year. They’ll also investigate if she accepted payment while only on a tourist visa.
Milonov also has his sights set on Madonna, who may have accepted payment while on a tourist visa when she performed in St. Petersburg last year. According to the Russian Legal Information Agency, the Prosecutor General’s Office have ruled that both Gaga and Madonna did violate their tourist visas.
"The visas issued were of the basic cultural exchange sort, which does not grant their bearers the right to engage in any commercial activity," officials said.
The musicians could be slammed with a fine if they return to the country or be refused a visa if they choose to go back.
In August last year, Madonna held a concert in St. Petersburg, shortly after the city legalized the anti-gay measure, which prohibits individuals from sharing LGBT materials to minors.
"I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is or feels oppressed," the singer told Bloomberg Businessweek in an email. "I don’t run away from adversity. I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity."
Days after her performance, the Associated Press reported some Russian activists sued the singer for nearly $10.5 million, claiming they were offended by her gay rights support during her show.
"She insulted believers’ feelings, she promoted homosexuality when there were children at the concert and this is forbidden in St. Petersburg," Darya Dedova, a member of the pro-Kremlin group Trade Union of Russia Citizens, said. "We, the residents of the cultural capital, suffered a colossal moral damage."