"It's not about ignorance, it's about greed," says the Human Rights Foundation of Jennifer Lopez.
The HRF is exposing Lopez after allegedly pocketing millions "serenading crooks and dictators." Last month, the 43-year-old sang "Happy Birthday" to President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow at an event put together by the China National Petroleum Corp. The mother of two earned $1.5 million for singing to the leader whom she wished the "very, very happiest birthday," unaware that the country he runs is "among the most repressed in the world."
The singer apologized for participating in the celebration claiming to be unaware of 56-year-old's rule, which has yet to meet the standards set forth by the United Nations. "Had there been knowledge of human rights issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended," her rep clarified.
The HRF wasn't impressed with the explanation, calling her excuse "contradicted by both coverage of the event in Turkmenistan itself and the fact that the event was financed by the Chinese dictatorship." A deeper look into high-profile gigs found that Lopez has made more than $10 million in the last two years performing for similarly oppressive and/or corrupt tyrants from Eastern Europe and Russia.
Between September to November 2012 alone, Lopez traveled to Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, bringing in a minimum of $1.4 million at each stop. In 2006 she sang for Telaman Ismailov, a Russian businessman often accused of corruption.
Calling Lopez out is a "case study in how human rights defenders can successfully marshal the notoriety of a celebrity to engage in public exposure of dictatorship and corruption,” according to the HRF. Serenading authoritarians and tyrants around the globe adds her to a list of stars like Usher, Beyoncé, 50 Cent and Mariah Carey, the last three of which were criticized for pocketing upwards of six figures to perform for Libyan president Moammar Khadafy. Libyan rebels assassinated Khadafy in 2011.
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(Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)