France: Madonna puts swastika on Marine Le Pen's forehead in concert video
Madonna has just concluded another performance that has prompted people to voice both agreement and revulsion. At her concert Saturday in Paris, she used an image of the French ultra-right leader of the National Front (Front national - FN), Marine Le Pen, and added a swastika to her forehead. The FN has decided to sue the American singer.
"Such a defamatory connection cannot be tolerated. Marine Le Pen, by filing suit, is defending not only her own honor, but also the honor of the members of her party, its promoters, and National Front voters," said FN vice-chair Florian Philippot.
In the recent presidential elections, Le Pen ended up in third place out of 10 candidates. During the subsequent parliamentary elections, the FN under her leadership made it back into parliament again after many years with no representatives there.
Agence-France Presse reports that some audience members loudly expressed their dislike of the video montage featuring Marine Le Pen. As part of her worldwide MDNA tour, Madonna will give one more performance in France on 21 August in Nice on the Côte d'Azur, where the FN has many promoters. The anti-racist initiative SOS Racisme expressed support for Madonna yesterday and praised her for her "determination in the fight against racism".
The FN is considered one of Europe's ultra-right parties mainly due to its chair of many years, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who shocked the world with his anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi, racist speeches. His daughter Marine, according to several observers, has done her best since taking up the party leadership last year to somewhat tone down the party's rhetoric and give the FN the image of a nationalist parliamentary party "protecting the interests of the French" from the impacts of European integration, globalization, and immigration.
Madonna, who is an adherent of the Jewish mystical teaching of Kabbalah, has always enjoyed being provocative and has been protested against by various groups. Such controversies have always contributed to her extraordinary success. The magazine Forbes recently listed her as the world's third most influential celebrity on its top 100 list. She has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She has sold hundreds of millions of albums worldwide.
Catholic youth in Poland are protesting against Madonna visiting their country this summer, saying she offends the Catholic faith and Jesus Christ when she burns crosses and wears a crown of thorns during her concerts. Her behavior, which the youth describe as "making distasteful gestures and poses" and "lustfully kissing other women", allegedly promotes homosexuality and pornography. More than 16 000 people have supported a boycott of Madonna's Warsaw concert, scheduled for 1 August.
Madonna has essentially based her entire career on provocations. Her early hit, "Like A Prayer", showed her in a church with stigmata on her hands. She has appeared wearing a conical bra designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and was completely topless in the video clip for the song "Vogue". She also revealed her breasts onstage during a concert in the Muslim country of Turkey. Her album entitled MDNA includes yet another controversial video which YouTube will only make available to people older than 18.
In 2008, Madonna attacked the US presidential candidate for the Republican Party, John McCain, during a concert in Cardiff, Wales. At the Millenium stadium her video montage featured images of global warming and war, followed by the photographs of Adolf Hitler, Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, and McCain.
However, Madonna has another face which the SOS Racisme initiative and others are fond of. During her 2008 concert in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, she stood up for Romani people. The audience responded by booing and whistling. During the intermission of the two-hour concert, Madonna told her audience that Romani people are discriminated against in Eastern Europe. She said it was sad and that no one should be discriminated against. "There are many cases of discrimination against Romani people in Eastern Europe and it makes me sad, mainly because we believe in tolerance - Romani people, homosexuals, people who are different, must get the opportunity to be treated equally. Don't ever forget that," the singer said. She was accompanied during that "Sticky and Sweet" tour by the well-known Romani band, the Kolpakov Trio.
Madonna's latest crusade against the ultra-right can also be considered a public statement in which she is standing up for the weak in society.