The Associated Press reported on Saturday that President Barack Obama supporter Jennifer Lopez took a break from producing her new sitcom series The Fosters to help celebrate the 56th birthday of Turkmenistan president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. Lopez serenaded the Turkmenistan leader during a private event hosted by China National Petroleum Corp.
Turkmenistan’s restrictive practices under Berdimuhamedow have been called some of the "most repressive in the world" by the Human Rights Watch. JLo’s publicist claimed the songstress had no knowledge of the dictator’s persecution of his people.
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"Had there been knowledge of human rights issues any kind, Jennifer would not have attended," Lopez’s publicist told the AP.
The state-owned oil company that hired Lopez for the event has close ties with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) with genocide and war crimes stemming from the slaughter of over 480,000 people in Darfur. CNPC currently operates the largest oil project in Sudan.
This is not the first time the pop star has been approached to perform for a corrupt government leader. Lopez was reportedly offered $2 million in March 2011 to perform for the former Libyan dictator, Muammar Gadhafi. She declined the offer.
Lopez’s engagement with repressive leadership casts a cloud over the singer’s passionate support for women’s issues and immigration. Lopez joined A-list celebs Eva Longoria, Beyonçé, and Julianne Moore last October in an Obama TV ad to campaign for the president on behalf of women’s issues.