Audience Member Sues Madonna And Live Nation For Ambushing Him With “Pornography”


Madonna has been sued by a concertgoer at her Celebration world tour, who alleges that Madonna produced “pornography without warning” and he “was forced to watch topless women on stage simulating sex acts”.

In the lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Los Angeles and seen by the Guardian, the plaintiff, Justen Lipeles, makes a series of allegations regarding her 7 March concert at the Kia Forum venue in the city. The concert’s promoter, Live Nation, is named alongside Madonna as a defendant.

Lipeles bought four tickets at $500 (£390) each, which stated that the concert would start at 8.30pm. Lipeles’ lawsuit complains that the concert actually began at 10pm, claiming: “Defendants did not provide any notice to plaintiff that the concert will start at a later time.”

The lawsuit continues: “The temperature inside the Kia Forum was uncomfortably hot as required by Madonna who refused to allow the air conditioning to be turned on.” Lipeles was duly “profusely sweating and became physically ill as a result of the heat. When fans complained about the heat, Madonna unreasonably told them to take their clothes off.

“Further, during most of the performance it was apparent to plaintiff that Madonna was lip-syncing.

“During the performance plaintiff was forced to watch topless women on stage simulating sex acts. Plaintiff felt like he was watching a pornographic film being made.”

Lipeles is suing for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, unfair competition, false advertising and emotional distress.

Regarding the latter, the lawsuit says Madonna’s actions were “intentional, extreme and outrageous”, and “such actions were done with the intent to cause serious emotional distress or with reckless disregard of the probability of causing … serious emotional distress”.

Lipeles is calling for compensatory damages, along with his legal costs and a refund for the concert tickets.

Madonna and Live Nation have not commented on the lawsuit. The Guardian has contacted representatives of each for comment.

The case has echoes of another lawsuit from earlier in the Celebration tour run.

In January, New Yorkers Michael Fellows and Jonathan Hadden sued Madonna for a late start – but not any alleged pornography – at her 13 December concert at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. After Madonna began the concert at 10.30pm, the pair said they were “left stranded” after leaving at 1am, and the lateness interfered with the following day when they “had to get up early to go to work”.

A statement by Madonna and Live Nation said they would “defend this case vigorously”, saying that the late start was due to a technical issue.

Madonna previously faced lawsuits in 2019 and 2020 complaining of her lateness during the Madame X tour, both of which were dismissed.

Despite the disgruntlement of Lipeles, Fellows and Hadden, the Celebration tour has been well-received by critics and audiences, with the Guardian’s Alexis Petridis writing in a four-star review that her “strengths seem very strong indeed”.

After 80 dates and $225m in ticket revenue, the tour concluded with a free concert on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro for an estimated 1.6 million people.



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