The "Express Yourself" singer shared a video of a speech she delivered in St. Petersburg in 2012 during her MDNA tour. At the time, the city had recently passed legislation prohibiting public displays of LGBTQ+ solidarity to minors, a version of which was adopted nationally in 2013.
The event had sparked controversy before it occurred, becoming the subject of a terrorist threat after Madonna expressed support for imprisoned members of the feminist punk-rock collective Pussy Riot, which had criticized President Putin. The U.S. embassy warned attendees "to remain vigilant regarding their personal security."
Regardless, Madonna made headlines for using the stage to take a stand. “Show your love and appreciation to the gay community. We want to fight for the right to be free. All people should be treated with dignity, respect, and love," she told the crowd, who waved rainbow flags and pink bracelets that had been distributed at the sold-out concert.
The pop star faced a $10.7 million lawsuit from several groups as a result of the speech; she was also called a “moralizing slut” by a public official for supporting Pussy Riot. The case was dismissed by a judge who ruled that Madonna did not violate the law since concertgoers were required to be over age 18.
In the Monday Twitter post, Madonna said she had still received a $1 million fine for her speech, although it is unclear if it was related to this suit. "I was fined 1 million dollars by The government for supporting the Gay community. I never paid," Madonna wrote, along with the hashtags #freedomofspeech and #powertothepeople.
Conditions for LGBTQ+ people have not improved in Russia since Madonna's performance. In addition to passing a nationwide ban on "gay propaganda," the Eastern-European nation is also finalizing a constitutional amendment that would solidify marriage as between one man and one woman. The move comes as Putin continues to demonize the LGBTQ+ community in his grab for more power and ignores reports of gay concentration camps in Chechnya, a Russian-controlled region.
From The Advocate
I made this speech at a concert in St. Petersburg 8 years ago. I was fined 1 million dollars by The government for supporting the Gay community.— Madonna (@Madonna) July 20, 2020
I never paid.................... #freedomofspeech #powertothepeople#mdna https://t.co/6wH53V4aUn pic.twitter.com/LGhV5gUerc