Matador Madonna in 'glamourizing gore' row

Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones - [email protected]
Matador Madonna in 'glamourizing gore' row
Madonna with a dancer dressed as a bull at the Grammy Awards on February 8th. Photo Robyn Beck/AFP.

Animal rights activists have called on Madonna to stop 'glamourizing gore' by dressing as a bullfighter, as the US star announces a Barcelona date on her upcoming tour.


The superstar has found inspiration in Spain's polemic national fiesta choosing to don corrida inspired outfits to promote her latest album. The 56-year-old material girl paraded matador style between dancers wearing bull-like masks during performances at both the Grammy and Brit awards, where at the latter she came a cropper in an incident with a cape.

But her fashion choice and clear referencing to the "bloody spectacle" of bullfighting has outraged animal rights campaigners.

"Madonna has clearly lost her footing with outfit choices on her tour," PETA UK Director, Mimi Bekhechi, told The Local.

Bullfighting has been banned in Barcelona - the last bullfight held in the region of Catalonia was held in September 2011 - and Madonna is unlikely to find many supporters of los toros in the region when her Rebel Heart tour stops in Barcelona on November 24th.

"If Madonna wants to ingratiate herself to audiences she might consider choreography that reflects something less offensive than imitating a bloody spectacle where an exhausted animal is speared stabbed and weakened until finally, its spine is severed with a dagger," Bekhechi told The Local.

"We wouldn’t wish that kind of suffering on Madonna, but we do wish she would get a clue and stop trying to glamourize gore."

People have been taking to social media and blogs to have their say on the controversy, especially following the live Brits performance marked by the memorable tumble when Madonna could not untie her cape. 

"She may be nursing a bruise today but it’s nothing compared to the bullring suffering she is shamelessly trivializing," said a blog post on 'Ban Blood Sports' blog, written after Madonna’s fateful Brit’s fall.

Fan reaction

While she may have come under fire from animal rights campaigners, Madonna will be welcomed with open arms by her large fan base in Spain when she plays the Barcelona leg of the tour to promote her new album, Rebel Heart.

"This morning we laughed, we cried, we were so excited," Chris Márquez, President of the Spanish Madonna fan club, told The Local.

Madonna has a particularly strong fan base in Spain; the Spanish Madonna fan club is the oldest in the world, according to Márquez.

"There is no other fan club in the world that is so old and constant," he said. 

The fan club was born in 1987, coinciding with her 1986 album True Blue, which spawned the hits Papa Don’t Preach, Open Your Heart and La Isla Bonita.

The US megastar’s latest tour will take in 35 dates and will kick off on August 29th in Miami.

Tickets go on general sale on March 16th, but the star’s Spanish super fans can buy tickets from March 10th, the day Rebel Heart is released in Spain. Tickets are expected to cost between €45 and €175.

And what did Madonna’s staunchly loyal Spanish fans make of her recent tumble at the Brit Awards?

"At first, we were all completely in shock," Márquez told The Local, "but then we saw a master, rise like a phoenix and continue performing with enviable professionalism.

"She showed, yet again, that she remains number one, the queen of pop."

Now, the question on many people’s lips is whether the queen of pop will reference bullfighting in a country where the tradition remains divisive and is, increasingly, waning in popularity.

The Local warned against wearing bullfighting outfits as a fashion statement. 


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