Madonna has pushed hard during her current MDNA tour to cause controversy. The world tour has sparked protest from a number of people. Last month, she successfully flashed her breast to a live audience in Istanbul, sparking numerous comments on her body and performance choices.
While the strip tease she performed in Istanbul did make some viewers uncomfortable, this particular stunt was not so different from many of her performances over the years that have involved sexual innuendo, strip teases and provocative costumes. In some ways, the fact that the 53-year-old singer bared her breast proudly, pushing against critics that deride mature women’s bodies in a youth-worshipping culture, is a feat to be applauded.
This month, Madonna took the idea of controversy and social critique to a whole new level, pushing the buttons of France’s far-right political party, the National Front. During the current MDNA tour, a video appears behind the singer on a large screen as she performs.
A series of images flashes across the screen during the show, including an image of the National Front’s party leader, Marine Le Pen. The next image shows a Hitler-like version of Madonna’s face, including the iconic mustache. Critics feel that Madonna is suggesting that the National Front subscribes to anti-Semitic rhetoric.
The political party announced on Sunday that it plans to sue Madonna over the video, which she has used on more than one occasion during the MDNA tour. The sudden decision to sue over the image comes after Madonna performed in a Paris suburb over the weekend, the BBC reports.
The Associated Press sums up the current debate surrounding the singer’s performance and multimedia display:
Le Pen, who inherited control of the party from her father, Jean-Marie, has tried to shed the National Front’s image as racist and anti-Semitic, especially during her recent failed bid for president. But she has maintained a hard line on immigrants, saying France has too many and criticizing many Muslims, in particular, for insufficiently assimilating into French culture.
Meanwhile, anti-racism group SOS Racisme expressed its support for Madonna on Sunday, commending her for her “resolutely anti-racist and feminist discourse.”
Madonna has also stated this year that she defies the Russian government’s recent legislation that bars LGBT activists from showing any banners or signs that discuss issues or identities within the LGBT community. She plans to do a performance in St. Petersburg this coming August.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons