Madonna performs during her Aug. 9 concert in St. Petersburg. A failed lawsuit claimed the singer’s “propaganda” would erode Russia’s birthrate.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - A Russian court on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit that sought millions of dollars in damages from Madonna for allegedly traumatizing minors by speaking up for gay rights during a concert in St. Petersburg.
The ruling came after a one-day hearing that bordered on the farcical. Plaintiffs claimed that Madonna's so-called "propaganda of perversion" would negatively affect Russia's birthrate and erode the nation's defense capability by depriving the country of future soldiers
At one point, the judge threatened to expel journalists from the courtroom if they laughed too much.
In the end, the Moskovsky district court in St. Petersburg threw out the Trade Union of Russian Citizens' lawsuit and the $10.7 million it sought from the singer for allegedly exposing youths to "homosexual propaganda."
Madonna did not attend the trial, and her publicist Liz Rosenberg said Thursday the star wouldn't comment about it.
Anti-gay sentiment is strong in Russia, particularly in St. Petersburg, where local legislators passed a law in February that made it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors. Six months later, Madonna criticized the law on Facebook, then stood up for gay rights during a concert in St. Petersburg that drew fans as young as 12.
"Who will children grow up to be if they hear about the equal rights of the lesbian lobby and manly love with traditional sexual relations?" one of the plaintiffs, Darya Dedova, testified Thursday. "The death rate prevails over the birth rate in the West; young guys are becoming gender neutral."
The plaintiffs submitted evidence about gay culture drawn from Wikipedia pages, claiming that a real encyclopedia could not have articles about homosexuality.
"We aren't against homosexual people, but we are against the propaganda of perversion among minors," Dedova told the court. "We want to defend the values of a traditional family."
Singer's foundation helps orphanage grow
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Singer Marc Anthony is coming to the aid of an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.
A foundation run by Anthony with music and sports producer Henry Cardenas plans to build a new residence hall, classrooms and a baseball field for the Children of Christ orphanage in the eastern city of La Romana. Anthony attended the groundbreaking ceremony Friday with his model girlfriend Shannon de Lima.
Children of Christ Foundation Director Sonia Hane said Anthony visited the orphanage previously and decided to help. His Maestro Cares Foundation raised $200,000 for the expansion on land donated by a sugar company. The orphanage was founded in 1996 for children who were abused or improperly cared for.
Newest beau defends Halle when ex visits
LOS ANGELES - Halle Berry's ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry was arrested for investigation of battery Thursday after he and French actor Olivier Martinez, the actress's current boyfriend, got into a fight at her Hollywood Hills home, police said.
Aubry, 37, was booked for investigation of a battery, a misdemeanor, and released on $20,000 bail, according to online jail records. He's scheduled to appear in court Dec. 13.
Aubry went to Berry's house Thanksgiving morning and police responded to a report of an assault, said a police spokeswoman. Aubry was injured in the altercation and was treated at a hospital.
Emails sent to Berry's publicist and Aubry's family law attorney were not immediately returned.
Berry and Aubry have been involved in a custody dispute involving their 4-year-old daughter, Nahla.
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Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry