Target: Jennifer Lopez
Goal: Condemn Jennifer Lopez’s decision to perform for an infamous dictator and demand she return her payment or donate it to charity
As ThinkProgress and CNN report, superstar Jennifer Lopez has issued an apology for her involvement in a China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) funded event. The event included birthday celebrations for Gurbanguly Berymukhamedov, the president of Turkmenistan, who gained tremendous notoriety for prolific human rights abuses in his country. Condemn Lopez for her indirect support of Berymukhamedov and demand she return the payments for the concert or donate them to charity.
The controversy recently arose following Lopez’s highly-publicized performance. Lopez and her publicist contend that they agreed to perform for the CNPC corporate event with no foreknowledge of plans to perform for Berymukhamedov, specifically. As the Huffington Post notes, “Lopez is the latest celebrity to face scrutiny for performing in countries or for leaders with human rights violations,” joining Hilary Swank, Beyonce, Nelly Furtado, and many others.
Alyssa Rosenberg of ThinkProgress blasted Lopez’s claims of ignorance, stating that “[this] is a patently ludicrous attempt at a dodge even if Lopez and her people are sticking to their story that they… saw [CNPC] as her only client. The Corporation’s been boycotted over its work in Sudan, accused of human rights abuses in Burma, and faced charges over the environmental impacts of its projects.” Condemning the Lopez publicist’s claims that the event was “vetted,” Rosenberg counters that “[it’s] possible to find out about all of these controversies with thirty seconds of Googling… if they wanted to investigate [the] veracity [of these accusations], that might have taken them longer, but it’s not as if Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, or Human Rights Watch don’t pick up the phone when a celebrity’s representatives call.”
Although Lopez is certainly not the first celebrity to face condemnation for participating in such events, her official response is condescending and makes minimal acknowledgement of the extremity of Turkmenistan’s human rights abuses. Sign this petition denouncing Lopez’s decision to perform and demand that she return her payment or donate it to charity. We must not tolerate celebrities who continue directly or indirectly supporting the world’s most egregious human rights abusers for profit.
Dear Jennifer Lopez,
As a global music and entertainment icon you are held to a very high standard of integrity. Moreover, your accolades from organizations such as Amnesty International highlight the absurdity of your claims regarding a recent performance for Turkmenistan’s brutal dictator, Gurbanguly Berymukhamedov, and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).
Even if your claims of ignorance concerning the involvement of Berymukhamedov are true, the CNPC has an extensive record of questionable, abusive, and exploitative involvements worldwide. A ThinkProgress article notes that “[the Corporation has] been boycotted over its work in Sudan, accused of human rights abuses in Burma, and faced charges over the environmental impacts of its projects” in recent years.
Feigning ignorance is no excuse. We strongly condemn your decision to perform at this extravagant and repugnant event and demand that you either return the money you received or donate it to charity. You are a role model for many and well-respected for your charitable work: live up to it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Olivier Chareyre via Wikimedia