Jennifer Lopez performed in the Central Asian country of Turkmenistan Saturday night, where she sang a special "Happy Birthday" to Turkmenistani President, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. However, it appears that her team was unaware that Turkmenistan is known for widespread human rights violations, and now Lopez is feeling the backlash.
The concert, which according to NBC, was sponsored by the China National Petroleum Corporation, who apparently "made a last minute 'birthday greeting' request prior to Jennifer taking the stage."
Lopez's publicist has said that if they had known about the problems in the country, she would not have performed there at all. This is understandable, because it can be difficult to find out everything about a country when you have an entire team of people dedicated to running Lopez's shows and tours. It's not like this information could be found as easily as going on Wikipedia. Oh wait, it is.
According to Billboard, Human Rights Watch describes the government of Turkmenistan as "among the most repressive in the world." The Guardian points out that Lopez's choreographer, JR Taylor, was confused by the lack of Turkmenistani Twitter users, saying "I wonder where all my Turkmenistan followers are!? Hit me up!" Apparently Taylor was painfully unaware that the Turkmenistani people are not permitted to use social media, or for that matter allowed much contact with the outside world.
This is sadly nothing new for Lopez, who performed in Russia last year after the imprisonment of the band Pussy Riot. When asked about these issues beforehand, she simply said "I don't like to talk politics, to be quite honest."
Of course she doesn't. Talking politics doesn't pay as well.