Celebrities sparked a wave of backlash this weekend after posting pictures of the MDL Beast music festival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Actors Armie Hammer and Ryan Phillippe visited the kingdom-sponsored festival and were criticized for ignoring the country’s human rights violations and flooding their Instagram accounts with party photos.
Hammer called the festival a “cultural change”.
But one of his supporters beat him up because he “promoted a country where journalists are killed, LGTBQ + people who restrict women’s lives”.
Fashion watchdog Diet Prada featured the MDL Beast Festival and its participants in a post with photos of the event.
“To restore the image of Saudi Arabia, you have to cash in big checks to create content (aka propaganda),” the report wrote.
Some of the country’s most controversial incidents recently were the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 and the arrest and deportation of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul in May 2018.
But models like Irina Shayk didn’t seem to be impressed by the kingdom’s alleged misconduct.
Shayk uploaded photos to Instagram when she was backstage and in a hotel with best friend Stella Maxwell.
A promotional photo by MDL Beast FestivalMD Beast in Saudi Arabia via Getty Images
Also present were Gossip Girl actors Ed Westwick, Alessandra Ambrosio, Winnie Harlow and Sofia Richie with their friend Scott Disick.
Richie posted a photo claiming to be friends with the title “Saudi Girls” from Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
The hotel was where Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrested his political opponents in autumn 2017.
Khashoggi journalist and girlfriend Karen Attiah of the Washington Post has beaten up Conde Nast and his magazine Glamor UK for promoting the MDL Beast Festival.
“I have lived with activists and journalists with risk and intimidation last year because I dared to talk about Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, Mohammed bin Salman and the ill-treatment under his supervision,” she wrote on Twitter.
“For Glamor UK, taking KSA money is a slap in the face.”
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