Madonna Lays off the Swastika, Doubles Down on Pussy Riot

Madonna avoided an additonal law suit in France by removing a swastika from extreme-right leader Marine Le Pen's face in a concert video, but demonstrates she hasn't foresaken the art of political provocation in her work.

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Eric Gaillard/Reuters

U.S. pop singer Madonna performs during her last European concert as part of her MDNA world tour in Nice, August 21, 2012 .

It’s a rare occasion indeed when Madonna passes up an opportunity to provoke controversy. But on Tuesday, the pop diva opted for discretion, avoiding renewed sparring with French extreme-right leader Marine Le Pen.

During the final European show of her world-wide “MDNA Tour” in Nice Aug. 21, Madonna ditched the swastika that had been previously superimposed over a photo of Le Pen in a video accompanying the song “Nobody Knows Me” (part of a visual critique of controversial leaders like Sarah Palin, Hu Jintao and Pope Benedict). Instead, the altered footage decorated Le Pen’s face with with a less contentious–and litigation-prone–question mark.

(PHOTOS: Madonna’s Extraordinary Career)

Indeed, legal concerns, rather than politics, apparently motivated Madonna’s move. When the swastika image first appeared during her May 31 performance in Tel Aviv, an angry Le Pen publicly warned “if she tries that in France, we’ll see what happens.” And we did: the day after Madonna’s July 14 Paris concert, which included the contested sequence, Le Pen’s National Front party filed suit for public insult and defamation. Then–after lashing out at “aging singers who need publicity go[ing] to such extremes”–the 44 year-old Le Pen warned the 54 year-old Madonna she’d file additional lawsuits if her final concert in Nice included the swastika as well.

(MORE: Why Madonna’s Swastika Swipe May Actually Help Marine Le Pen)

Le Pen supporters in Nice began protesting the concert as early as last week, pasting National Front stickers over Madonna handbills advertising the concert and decrying the outrageous denigration of linking Le Pen to Nazism. As a result, once Madonna made her final bow and the show finished sans swastika, National Front leaders were quick to claim victory.

“To my knowledge, Madonna never changed a video before,” Gaël Nofri, leader of the Nice section of Le Pen’s “Blue Marine Rally” support group told Agence France-Presse after the concert. “It’s proof our arguments won out. It’s excellent news.”

Madonna may have pulled out of this fight in order to focus on her other legal woes. In addition to Le Pen’s pending case in France, the pop star now also finds herself being sued for  $10.5 million in Russia  by activists claiming her Aug. 9 concert in St. Petersburg illicitly promoted gay rights. She has elsewhere infuriated some Russian conservatives by denouncing the detention and subsequent conviction of anti-Putin punk band Pussy Riot.

(MORE: Madonna Sued in Russia for Supporting Gays)

 Indeed, in her feud with Russian authorities Madonna seems to be doubling down: in Nice Tuesday, she shouted “Free Pussy Riot!” and railed against “intolerance” and those who don’t respect “human dignity.” “The real deal is freedom and not just for Pussy Riot,” she said, according to AFP, adding later, “Every human being deserves to be treated equally.”
11 comments
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Jenn Smith
Jenn Smith

I'm sure if it was a nazi punk band at Auschwitz denigrating Judaism, a few here would have a different opinion on the issue

Jenn Smith
Jenn Smith

Madonna is a Neo-Marxist. Very dumb, that system failed.

What Pxssy Rot did was obscene and their hate speech leads to genocide.

The USSR banned Christians and Pagans, and sent millions to the Gulags leading to the genocide of 62 million Christian Russians, according to Nobel Prize winner Solzhenitsyn.

GULAG PART 1v

XwwwXyoutubeXcomXwatch?v=lITvDn5-qF0

GULAG PART 6v

XwwwXyoutubeXcomXwatch?v=n6Z1peXoAsA

GULAG PART 7

XwwwXyoutubeXcomXwatch?v=yjdn_CuGNjs

GULAG PART 8v

XwwwXyoutubeXcomXwatch?v=WqfV0XCySZU

Pxssy Rot desecrated a reconstructed church which stands as a symbol of genocide in the Marxist USSR. It is tantamount to a nazi punk band trespassing on Auschwitz and broadcasting defamation of Judaism and Jews.

I'm sure if it was a nazi punk band at Auschwitz denigrating Judaism, a few here would have a different opinion on the issue

What Pxssy Rot did was obscene and their hate leads to genocide.

Trix
Trix

Madonna is actually very smart here. She made her point against Le Pen with the video by even showing it in the first place. She managed to show it at every European tour stop up until the last one, resulting in scrutiny and attention being brought to Le Pen by some who weren't aware of her previously.

So Madonna's intent to bring what she personally feels are negatives about Le Pen and her party to light has been successful .... but she changed the image in time to avoid a lawsuit against herself. Perfectly played IMO.

Jenn Smith
Jenn Smith

 Madonna is a Neo-Marxist. Very dumb, that system failed.

What Pxssy Rot did was obscene and their hate speech leads to genocide.

The USSR banned Christians and Pagans, and sent millions to the Gulags leading to the genocide of 62 million Christian Russians, according to Nobel Prize winner Solzhenitsyn.

GULAG PART 1v

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

GULAG PART 6v

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

GULAG PART 7

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

GULAG PART 8v

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Pxssy Rot desecrated a reconstructed church which stands as a symbol of genocide in the Marxist USSR. It is tantamount to a nazi punk band trespassing on Auschwitz and broadcasting defamation of Judaism and Jews.

I'm sure if it was a nazi punk band at Auschwitz denigrating Judaism, a few here would have a different opinion on the issue

What MADONNA and Pxssy Rot did was obscene and their hate leads to genocide.

Aaron Darc
Aaron Darc

Yeah, agreed. I was on a really mainstream pop forum board, where the topic du jour is usually whether Justin Bieber's new hair suits him, and there were threads about right-wing extremism and France, and another one analysing the difference of the issue of Freedom of Expression here and in places like Russia. And I just thought... "Go Madonna!!" 

Araceliwaa
Araceliwaa

Josephine said I'm surprised that a student can make $7534 in four weeks on the network. have you look this(Click on menu Home)

Cheryl C. Marrero
Cheryl C. Marrero

Lady Gaga is our Mother Monster and she is our true activist...HoursEnjoyMoneys.blogspot.com

LittleMonsterSeth
LittleMonsterSeth

Madonna should not be sticking up for gay rights. Lady Gaga is our Mother Monster and she is our true activist. 

Illusion
Illusion

Oh, so going to Russia and protesting against anti-gay movements isn't activism? What about showing the swastika in Paris, even with the threat of a lawsuit? Get a life.

bplenc
bplenc

 seek medical help - SOON !