Madonna Responds to Claims She Was 'High or Drunk' Onstage, Blames 'Sexism'

Madonna  Rod Laver 2016
Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Madonna performs in concert at Rod Laver Arena on March 12, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. 

Madonna has responded to reports claiming she performed while under the influence of drugs and alcohol during a recent concert in Australia.

"Too bad people don’t know the art or of acting and playing a character," she wrote on Instagram, adding, "I could never do any of my shows high or drunk."

The Australian leg of Madonna's Rebel Heart tour has had an unusual start: a cabaret-style free warm-up show at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre on March 10, which was billed as a fusion of music, art and comedy, though the concert was met with mixed reviews. Fans also complained about the show's late start -- a two-hour performance finished at 2.50am, well beyond the venue's curfew of 2am, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

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As if to signal an imminent meltdown, TMZ posted a video from Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena two days later in which Madonna appeared to be “guzzling booze” and falling off a tricycleThe Daily Mail went further, describing her appearance as “chaotic” and claiming she’d “suffered another onstage meltdown.” RadarOnline shared its own theory: her “bizarre behavior” may be due in part to prescription medication. 

The queen of pop's retort blames “sexism” and “misogyny” for the worst of the criticism. "We are still treated like heretics if we step out of line and think outside the box," Madonna wrote. 

Madonna and ex-husband Guy Ritchie are currently embroiled in a custody battle over their son Rocco. On March 5, Madonna dedicated a song to the 15-year-old during a concert in New Zealand.