Jennifer Lopez is taking back her birthday wishes for Turkmenistan leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov following the controversy that arose after she sang “Happy Birthday” to the dictator over the weekend.
According to Us Weekly, the 43-year-old singer performed for the leader of the Central Asian former Soviet republic at an event held by China National Petroleum Corp. J-Lo, however, maintains she was unaware of Berdimuhamedov's blatant disregard for human rights, and has apologized through her rep. Either way, “Jenny from the block” is still making off with the $1.5 million she was paid for the engagement, the celebrity magazine confirmed Monday.
According to J. Lo’s team, she didn’t have any knowledge of “human rights issues.” Her rep’s statement to Us Weekly read:
"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."
Thor Halvorssen of the Human Rights Foundation told The Hollywood Reporter Lopez can essentially perform for whomever she wants to make her living, but considering she’s been involved with programs in Mexico whose goal is to protect woman from violence, it makes her a hypocrite.
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He said to THR: "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."