Madonna said Sunday that the Russian government fined her for a speech she made supporting LGBTQ rights at a concert in St. Petersburg eight years ago.
The singer posted a clip of her speech on Instagram and Twitter, alleging that she never paid the $1 million penalty for her words. Madonna told the audience that they had the power to make a difference through love, according to the video.
“I am here to say that the gay community and gay people, here and all around the world, have the same rights to be treated with dignity, with respect, with tolerance, with compassion, with love,” Madonna said in the video. “Are you with me?”
Crowds cheered as Madonna asked them to show their appreciation for the gay community, asking repeatedly if they were with her.
The Russian Embassy and U.S. Embassy in Moscow did not immediately respond to an NBC News request to confirm the singer’s claims of a $1 million fine. Tour dates from Madonna’s “MDNA” world tour did show her scheduled in St. Petersburg on August 8, 2012.
Russian society has maintained intolerant stances toward the LGBTQ community, despite decriminalizing homosexuality decades ago. Nearly 1 in 5 Russians want to “eliminate” gay and lesbian people from society, according to a survey published in April by the Levada Center, a nongovernmental research organization based in Moscow.
Earlier this month Russians voters favored a national referendum defining marriage exclusively as a union between one man and one woman.
In 2013, a federal law was passed criminalizing the distribution of materials that promote same-sex relationships to minors, dubbed the “gay propaganda law.”