May 31, 2024 4 min read

Madonna show was too late, too sexy, too hot alleges whiney concert-goer

Madonna has been sued yet again in relation to her poor time-keeping when it comes to her arrival on stage. This latest lawsuit has been filed by a fan who also complains about being “forced to watch topless women on stage simulating sex acts” and being so hot that they became “physically ill”

Madonna show was too late, too sexy, too hot alleges whiney concert-goer
Photo from MBCPR

Madonna and her promoter Live Nation are facing yet another lawsuit in relation to her ‘Celebration Tour’. As with two previous lawsuits filed earlier this year, which focused on Madonna’s somewhat slack regard for time-keeping, the latest lawsuit complains that Madonna took to the stage more than 90 minutes late.

That, though, is the least of the complaints that disgruntled ticket buyer Justen Lipeles makes in his pearl-clutching legal filing. Being late is one thing, but being “forced to watch topless women on stage simulating sex acts” is another matter entirely. Plus, the whole thing made him too hot and sweaty. Poor Justen.

Skipping over the obvious questions about whether Lipeles had somehow taken a wrong turn and walked into the Madonna show instead of something altogether more wholesome like a My Little Pony convention - it’s no huge secret that Madonna is notorious for turning up late. 

Indeed, critics of earlier litigation filed about Madonna’s less-than-perfect time-keeping have pointed out that anyone who has been to a Madonna show will know that she rarely shows up on time. Some might even argue that Madonna showing up late is now so common that for some fans it’s an integral part of the Madonna experience. 

It is that wider Madonna experience - and expectation of what a Madonna show might be like - that is the central disconnect in Lipeles’ lawsuit. It shouldn't be a surprise that if you go to a Madonna show - or know literally anything about Madonna at all - you might expect things to get a little bit sexy.

This is, after all, the woman who, back in 1992, released her ground-breaking album entitled ‘Erotica’. The title alone might be enough to give a subtle hint at the general direction of her work. If that wasn’t explicit enough a hint, then maybe - just maybe - the fact that the day after the album was released Madonna published a coffee table book of photography called ‘Sex’ could be the lightbulb moment you needed to work out that Madonna’s output might be something a little more explicit than a My Little Pony movie. 

At the time ‘Sex’ was so shocking that it was condemned by the Pope, banned by bookshops, seized by Indian customs officers, and resulted in an entire group of Christians refusing to touch bibles that had been printed on the same printing press. 

Maybe Lipeles hasn’t seen the music video for ‘Justify My Love’ in which Madonna, dressed in stockings and and a bodice writhes around in the corridor - and later bedroom - of a hotel, intercut with footage of couples togged up in PVC and leather S&M gear. 

Perhaps he’d not seen the video for ‘Secret’ in which - in the words of Pop Sugar, in their list of ‘10 Madonna videos so sexy, they may as well be rated NSFW’ - “rubbed in hot oil and wriggling around in crisp sheets, Madonna demonstrates that black and white makes everything sexier”.

Or maybe he genuinely did take a wrong turn on his way to the My Little Pony convention. Which is the most obvious - and charitable - explanation for why Lipeles was so horrified by the show. Because otherwise the whole thing seems like tedious bandwagon jumping to get some publicity. In an email to Law360 Justen Lipeles’ lawyer, Kevin A Lipeles, who may conceivably also be his dad, said, “Imagine taking your eleven year old daughter to a pop concert, when, in the middle of the concert, the women on stage remove their tops and are completely topless”.

Just imagine that! Imagine having an eleven year old daughter and bringing her up to believe that women taking their tops off on stage - by choice, and in exchange for decent wages - is so beyond the bounds of decency that you feel compelled to file a lawsuit complaining about it. 

And imagine taking your eleven year old daughter to see a performer renowned for pushing sexual boundaries, but about whom you apparently know so little that you are shocked when those dancers “begin to act out sexual situations including cunnilingus and digital penetration” with “absolutely no warning”. 

Imagine being horrified about the “pornographic type situations” playing out on stage and being the type of person who bought a ticket for a Madonna show but “is offended by this type of content”. Or the type of person who accidentally walked into that show, but didn’t walk out again upon realising their mistake. “People paid thousands of dollars to sit and suffer while watching live porn”, shrieked Lipeles’ lawyer and/or dad, “WITH NO WARNING!”

Not only - goes on the lawsuit - was poor Lipeles an unwilling participant in the extravagant pornographic horrors of Madonna’s live show - but it also made him uncomfortably hot and sweaty. My Little Pony conventions probably have air conditioning to keep everyone cool - no matter how exciting things get. But not Madonna. Alleging that Madonna demanded that the air conditioning in the venue be turned off, Lipeles says that he and other concert-goers sweated “profusely”, and ultimately became “physically ill”. 

Again, that might have been a good time to admit your mistake, leave and get a nice cold drink. The legal filing goes on to cite another Madonna concert in Florida in 2019 where the singer allegedly ordered the air conditioning to be turned off and was unapologetic about her late arrival on stage. And while this aims to show a particular pattern of behaviour by Madonna - persistently late, gets chilly, inflicts pornographic performances on unwitting audience members - it may also weaken Lipeles’ argument.

The fact that many of the issues raised by Lipeles regarding the show he attended seem to be common elements of Madonna’s concerts may work against his claim that he didn't and couldn’t have expected them when he bought his ticket. 

Madonna’s behaviour, whines the lawsuit, was “intentional, extreme and outrageous” and her pornographic horror show was inflicted on Lipeles and others “with the intent to cause serious emotional distress” or, at the very least “with reckless disregard of the probability” that it would cause serious emotional distress.

As a result of this utterly distressing porngraphic horror show, Lipeles’ lawsuit claims false advertising, negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract. 

What a time to be alive.

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