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Russian minister calls Madonna ‘ex-whore’ prior to concert

U.S. singer Madonna performs on stage during her MDNA tour at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow August 7, 2012. (REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov)

SAINT PETERSBURG/WASHINGTON: Pop icon Madonna came under attack ahead of her concert in Saint Petersburg Thursday, with a deputy prime minister calling her an “ex-whore” and a lawmaker threatening to fine her for “homosexual propaganda.”

During a packed Moscow concert earlier this week, the U.S. Queen of Pop called on the authorities to release three members of all-girl punk band Pussy Riot, who are on trial for performing a song against President Vladimir Putin at a landmark Moscow church. At her upcoming show in Saint Petersburg Thursday, she had promised to come out in support of the city’s embattled gay community, with pink wristbands to be distributed at the concert.

“Every former whore seeks to lecture everyone on morality as she gets older. Especially during tours and gigs abroad,” deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Twitter.

“Either take off your cross, or put on your knickers,” the outspoken former NATO envoy said Wednesday evening.

Pro-Kremlin activists planned to hold pickets ahead of the free-wheeling singer’s concert in Russia’s former imperial capital, while a local lawmaker said her show would be closely monitored for signs of violating a citywide law against “homosexual propaganda.”

“In this case, steps will be taken to open an administrative probe, and she will face a fine for violating this law,” said a spokeswoman for Vitaly Milonov, a member of the Saint Petersburg legislature.

“We should not allow the imposition here in Russia of Western values that Madonna promotes.”

Saint Petersburg earlier this year passed a citywide law that fines those “promoting homosexuality” to minors and apparently equates it with pedophilia, even though homosexuality is not a crime in Russia.

Separately, two longtime supporters of a Pennsylvania animal shelter have successfully bid $100,000 for four tickets to a Madonna concert in Philadelphia later this month.

Main Line Animal Rescue, in a statement Thursday, said the bid from Nick Adams and Dee Silvers at its annual fund-raising auction “is believed to be the highest paid for concert tickets.”

The proceeds will go toward rehabilitating breeding dogs rescued from puppy farms in the state. The nonprofit is well known for campaigning against puppy farm abuse.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 10, 2012, on page 11.

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