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Jennifer Lopez Apologizes for Performing at Turkmenistan Dictator’s Birthday Party

Jennifer-Lopez
Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images

Jennifer Lopez is wiping some egg off of her perfectly bronzed face. La Lopez delivered what we bet was a killer performance at the birthday bash for the Turkmenistan dictator, but quickly apologized for it once she realized just what sort of a leader he is — and when she received a slew of backlash.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that J. to the L-o sang ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ to Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov at a privately funded event (meaning Turkmenistan’s government didn’t pay for the party). However, the party was paid for by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), who frequently do business with the Turkmenistan government.

Lopez’s rep says that the performance was “a last minute ‘birthday greeting’ request prior to Jennifer taking the stage.” THR says other artists were at the event, but their names weren’t disclosed.

The Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen scolded the former (and maybe future) ‘American Idol‘ judge for the move, sniping, “Lopez obviously has the right to earn a living performing for the dictator of her choice and his circle of cronies, but her actions utterly destroy the carefully-crafted message she has cultivated with her prior involvement with Amnesty International’s programs in Mexico aimed at curbing violence against women.”

A full statement from J. Lo’s rep is as follows:

Jennifer Lopez and several other artists were invited and performed at a private corporate event for the China National Petroleum Corporation that was presented to their local executives in Turkmenistan.
This was not a government sponsored event or political in nature. The event was vetted by her representatives, had there been knowledge of human right issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended.
The China National Petroleum Corporation made a last minute ‘birthday greeting’ request prior to Jennifer taking the stage. This was not stipulated in her contract but she graciously obliged the China National Petroleum Corporation request.

Next: Vote Jennifer Lopez for Best Ombre Hair!

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