Madonna, nearly two months after her last controversy, has fanned the embers of her notoriety once more by brandishing a gun on stage at a show in Denver. The stunt, a regular part of Madonna’s current MDNA touring stage show, was seen as grossly insensitive given the July shootings in nearby Aurora.
Madonna waved the fake firearms during the 'Gang Bang' number in which images of blood splatters are displayed on the stage backdrop. It has caused offence at several shows during the tour, but it was thought that she would not include it in the Colorado gig.
A local radio presenter, Pete Burns, reported that some fans were visibly upset by the sequence. "You could see people kinda looking at each other," he said. "I heard the word 'Colorado', you know, 'Aurora', 'shooting'. You could hear people talking about it and it was a little bit unsettling. I saw two or three people get up and grab their stuff and actually leave their seats."
Madonna’s publicist Liz Rosenberg defended the stunt, inadvertently voicing Madonna’s somewhat inflated sense of her own importance. "It's like taking out the third act of Hamlet," the publicist said. "Madonna does not make things pretty and tie them up with a bow."
Certainly not when precious publicity is at stake. Immediately after the Aurora shootings, Madonna was playing a show in Scotland. Scottish police asked her not to include the gun sequence in the show, but she defied them and brandished an imitation pistol and AK47 assault rifle during the sequence.