Saudi Arabia Just Had A Grand Music Festival With International Celebrities & People Are Pissed AF

By Noor | 24 Dec, 2019

Saudi Arabia just had a festival and now everything’s a big fat mess

Recently, Saudi Arabia has been an image overhauling mission. The country, which was once the most conservative place in the world, has started allowing women to drive, opened up cinemas, has allowed concerts by world famous musicians to happen and has even allowed women to go around with the abaya, in certain cases. None of that can discount the fact that the regime is still largely oppressive and freedom is only insofar as the authorities want to show to the Western world.

 

Recently, Saudi Arabia had a festival with huge celebrities from around the world attending

Saudi Arabia opened itself to the MDL Beast Fest. The three-day festival which included more than two dozen acts was held in Riyadh.

A huge number of celebrities and influencers attended the music festival and expressed their joy upon being a part of the event and showed a “lighter” side of the country that is still otherwise notorious for its human rights track record.

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Arabian Sunset 🌅🇸🇦

A post shared by ♔Jamaican Canadian♔ (@winnieharlow) on

 

The list of celebrities who went to Saudi included Sonam Kapoor, Armie Hammer, Scott Disick, models like Alessandra Ambrosio, among many others

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Great time at @mdlbeast 🎆✨🎶 #soundstorm #ad

A post shared by Alessandra Ambrosio (@alessandraambrosio) on

 

However, many people are calling out these celebrities because there are rumors that they were paid to attend

 

The influencers were accused of ‘cashing big fat checks’ by participating in the Saudi effort to restore the image of the country while ignoring heinous atrocities like the Jamal Kashoggi incident

People argued that despite Saudi’s link to human right abuses, these celebrities were a part of the event because they only cared about their own monetary gains and were hypocritical for championing progressive causes otherwise.

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What’s worse than an all white @revolve influencer trip? Cashing big fat checks in exchange for #content creation (aka propaganda) to rehabilitate the image of Saudi Arabia, a country said to be causing “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”, according to the United Nations. According to anonymous sources, six-figure sums were offered for attendance and geo-tagged posts. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Following the government’s pre-meditated murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi in October 2018 , the arrest of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul in May 2018, the outing of a gay Saudi journalist and his partner who began receiving death threats from their families (homosexuality is a crime in Saudi Arabia and punishable by death), and countless other human rights abuses, a bevy of supermodels, influencers, celebrities, and musicians convened in Riyadh for the inaugural @mdlbeast . According to @hypebeast , the electronic music festival is “one of the most significant musical events the region has ever seen”. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Saudi Arabia has been spending billions to change its image in the west, but this is sure to be the most expensive campaign yet. In a series of Instagram stories posted by transgender model @teddy_quinlivan , it was revealed that fellow model @emrata had turned down the trip, evidently aware of the country’s human rights crisis. “It is very important to me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, freedom of expression and the right to a free press. I hope coming forward on this brings more attention to the injustices happening there”, said Ratajkowski in a statement to Diet Prada. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Unfortunately, not all shared the same sentiments. There are simply too many attendees to name. Dieters, feel free to tag any attendees you know of… just in case they haven’t been reading the news. • #propoganda #jamalkashoggi #humanrights #humanrightsabuse #lgbtq #lgbtqrights #freespeech #journalism #independent #womensrights #mdlbeast #edm #electronicmusic #supermodel #influencer #content #riyadh #emrata #emilyratajkowski #teddyquinlivan #model #celebrity #dj #electronicmusic #musicfestival #wtf #smh #government #corruption #dietprada

A post shared by Diet Prada ™ (@diet_prada) on

 

Sonam Kapoor pushed back by saying that she was treated with respect while she was there but many are arguing that if she wasn’t mistreated doesn’t mean that everyone in Saudi Arabia is treated as respectfully as her

People called out Sonam Kapoor for being hypocritical in her actions because she champions LGBTQ and progressive causes otherwise while she was okay promoting Saudi Arabia just for the money she was made, despite the fact that the country explicitly persecutes members of the LGBTQ community and is extremely conservative, otherwise.

Source:@sonamkapoor / Instagram

 

People shared that this effort by Saudi government to show a “lighter side” of the country is failing

 

They also asserted that Saudi Arabia is not a changed place for women and the Saudi women can still not have the freedoms that these foreign celebrities who were paid and given special treatment just to show a false image

Source: @diet_prada/Instagram

The music festival has definitely ruffled quite a few feathers among the aam awaam. Do you think the efforts by Saudi Arabia to change the image is actually a good effort or just a government propaganda to lure in the Western world for more money and resources.

 

Nicki Minaj Has Refused To Perform In Saudi Arabia After Mass Appeals By Activists

BTS Had Their Concert In Riyadh And ARMYs Now Think That BTS Is Muslim

 


Cover image via: @sonamkapoor via Instagram / @alessandraambrosio via Instagram

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