Madonna faces ban in Philippines after 'disrespecting' its flag

Will The Philippines Ban Madonna After Flag Incident?
Will The Philippines Ban Madonna After Flag Incident?

Madonna's Asian leg of her Rebel Heart Tour is stirring one controversy after the other.

The Queen of Pop now faces a ban from performing in the Philippines in future, after she was accused of "disrespecting" the country's flag during her two-day concert in Manila last week, say local reports.

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While the Vogue singer might have clocked up plenty of karma points prior to her performance by visiting orphans at a Manila shelter, Filipino officials are less than impressed by her on-stage antics.

Videos and pictures from the concert on Feb. 24 show Madonna dancing around while draped in the Philippine flag. The crowd lapped up every moment of it, but it didn't go down well with the government at all.

"Malacanang (presidential palace) is keen on banning Grammy award winner and Queen of Pop Madonna from performing in the Philippines for disrespecting the Philippine flag in her concert," presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma told AFP.

Other reports also quoted the chief of the Heraldry Section of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Teodoro Atienza, telling radio station dzBB that Madonna had "ridiculed" the country's flag.

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It might be unknown to Madonna and her producers, but the Philippines has a law against wearing its flag "in whole or in part as a costume or uniform." Offenders risk a one-year jail term, as well as a fine.

This incident is just the latest in flag-related boo-boos the 57-year-old singer has encountered in Asia. Leading up to her performance in Taipei, Taiwan, Madonna caused a commotion when she posted on Instagram a picture of her face on a blue-star design.

While Madonna might have thought the design was a generic national emblem for Taiwan, it's actually the symbol for the Kuomintang (KMT) political party. Under the KMT regime in the 1950s and 1960s, an estimated 18,000 to 30,000 Taiwanese were executed and its flag has come to be associated with the period known as the "White Terror".

The offending post has since been removed after Taiwanese netizens called her out for being culturally insensitive.

However, instead of easing tensions, Madonna continued to stir up negative emotions during her Feb. 5 performance. While performing "Holiday" on stage in Taipei, the singer draped the Republic of China flag on herself. Many people across the shore in mainland China view the Taiwanese flag as a "regional flag" not its national flag, because Taiwan declares itself independent, but China insists it belongs to the mainland.

The singer rounded up her Asia tour in Singapore on Sunday and is moving on to Australia next. She has yet to comment publicly on her recent Philippine flag debacle.

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