Jennifer Lopez has lots of money. Lots and lots of money. She likes to flaunt the things she can buy with this money, too, like designer stuff and jewelry and trips and infant boyfriends, but insists she’s still a down-to-earth Bronx girl, a juxtaposition that makes everyone, including the most myopic J.Lo fans, laugh and laugh. Jenny is as down-to-earth as the furthest planetary reaches of the cosmos.
So back to the original question. How much does a rich celebrity need? Because some already-rich celebrities sometimes get caught doing objectively crappy things for money. One of those things is taking loads of cash to perform for evil dictators leading oppressive regimes. While their population starves and suffers, stars like J.Lo sashay in on private plans and scoop upwards of $1 million in dirty money to strut and warble on stage in order to gratify some psychotic despot’s cosmos-sized ego.
Hilary Swank did this a few years ago and her reputation hasn’t really recovered. Nelly Furtado and Beyonce were caught doing this as well and once they were called out on it, were sort of forced to give the money to a charitable cause. Whoops! You can imagine they were probably not thrilled to have to part with it, just that they got caught.
So when Jenny was busted for performing at a recent birthday party for Turkmenistan’s own resident psycho dictator, the amazingly named Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov (the only amazing thing about him by the way, except for his amazing awfulness), and pocketing $1.4 million for her efforts, Human Rights Watch (HRW) came down on her pretty hard.
Jenny’s people (she wouldn’t deign to respond to such a pedestrian accusation herself), tried to pull some weak reply like “We didn’t know he was an evil, ruthless dictator” even though Google is an actual thing that functions pretty well on the Internet, and with the amount of effort she puts into her “smizing” red carpet expressions you’d think a person of this level of image-based due diligence would have some awareness about who she was accepting over a million clams from.
In other words, no one believes Jennifer Lopez was unaware of what she was doing and, furthermore, she couldn’t care less if she performed for the ghost of Pol Pot as long as he were paying enough.
Instead, HRW says their request to have Jennifer hold herself accountable was “met with silence” because of course it was.
Bad idea to piss off HRW, because HRW has now uncovered a hush-hush list of other dictators, despots and human rights abusers J.Lo has gladly assaulted with her idea of singing and it’s as long as her list of ex-husbands.
* In July 2011, Lopez was paid $1 million by corrupt Uzbek industrialist Azam Aslanov to perform at the wedding of his son. One of the guests at the wedding was Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov. Prior to this, Lopez was paid $1.4 million to perform at the birthday celebration in Moscow of a businessman engaged in widely reported acts of corruption: Russian oligarch Telman Ismailov.
* In September 2012, Lopez was booked by the dictatorship of Azerbaijan to perform at a FIFA soccer tournament. The fee was reportedly $2.5 million. While in the capital city of Baku, Lopez’s representatives met with the dictator’s wife and began negotiating a contract to put together a music festival in Azerbaijan in partnership with Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency. The event was initially planned for September 2013 but has been rescheduled to 2014.
* In October 2012, Lopez traveled to Belarus, the only dictatorship in Europe, where she performed a leg of her world tour. Details of her stay in Minsk and her engagements are not public record, and the Lopez team has ignored requests for comment on the matter.
* In November 2012, Lopez traveled to Russia, where she was scheduled to sing happy birthday to Alexander Yolkin, a Russian bureaucrat accused of corruption. Yolkin was arrested the day before Lopez’s performance at his birthday party. Russian media claim that the reported $2 million paid to Lopez was the product of kickbacks and bribery schemes. It is not known if Lopez returned the fee. [HRW via Cele|bitchy.]
This is so gross. I can’t believe a sentient human being would agree to this, unless they were completely driven by ego and greed–Wait a minute. Hold up. Maybe Jennifer is a secret vigilante peace activist trying to infiltrate evil dictator and corrupt bureaucrat lairs and murder them with her version of singing! Could J.Lo be a hero? This is an angle we haven’t yet considered.