Madonna: I'm "saddened" by Malawi government's criticisms and "lies"

Madonna, flanked by her Malawian adopted children, David, right, and Mercy, and Yasinta Chapomba, Executive Director for Mphandula Childcare Centre, speaks to media in Namitete, Malawi on April 5, 2013. Getty

Madonna is speaking out against claims she exaggerated her contributions to the southern African country of Malawi in a lengthy statement posted on her website.

The pop star has called Malawian government's accusation "inaccurate." Her spokesman suggested they were prompted by the recent removal of the president's sister as head of Madonna's humanitarian organization there.

The singer has a long history with the country, which she first visited in 2006. She adopted two children from Malawi and runs several projects there. She was granted VIP treatment during previous visits, including when she last jetted into the country on April 1. But Madonna apparently was surprised when she learned upon leaving Malawi that that was no longer the case, and that she and her travelling party would have to line up with ordinary passengers and be frisked by airport security.

A strongly worded recent statement by the president's office accused Madonna of trying to use her fame and money to press Malawi into giving her special treatment.

"Granted, Madonna is a famed international musician. But that does not impose an injunction of obligation on any government under whose territory Madonna finds herself, including Malawi, to give her state treatment. Such treatment, even if she deserved it, is discretionary not obligatory," the statement said.

The presidential statement also questioned Madonna's intentions behind her humanitarian efforts in Malawi, alleging that the singer "wants Malawi to be forever chained to the obligation of gratitude."

"Kindness, as far as its ordinary meaning is concerned, is free and anonymous. If it can't be free and silent, it is not kindness; it is something else. Blackmail is the closest it becomes," the statement said.

Madonna responded: "I'm saddened that Malawi's President Joyce Banda has chosen to release lies about what we've accomplished, my intentions, how I personally conducted myself while visiting Malawi and other untruths. I have no intentions of being distracted by these ridiculous allegations. I came to Malawi seven years ago with honorable intentions. I returned earlier this month to view the new schools we built."

Madonna said she never asked or demanded special treatment at the airport or elsewhere, adding, "I will not be distracted or discouraged by other people's political agendas. I made a promise to the children of Malawi and I am keeping that promise."

Read Madonna's full statement here.

  • CBS News Staff

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