While we always advise people to stay flexible when planning an overseas trip and not to rely too heavily on guidebooks, etc., it does pay to do your homework before heading out for multiple reasons. Apparently this past weekend, Jennifer Lopez failed to do just that when the pop singer flew with entourage in tow to Turkmenistan to serenade and sing happy birthday to Turkmen strongman Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Little did the diva know that Turkmenistan doesn’t really have the best human rights record on the planet… in fact, it is one of the worst.
Lopez’s publicist Mark Young insists that the trip was vetted by her representatives, but we’re not really sure what type of vetting they actually did. A quick internet search of Turkmenistan reveals:
– Turkmenistan, according to Reporters Without Borders, is ruled by the third most repressive regime in the world… only to be outdone by Eritrea and North Korea.
– Turkmenistan is one of the “10 most Censored Countries” in the world.
– Turkmenistan has been widely criticized by the international community for human rights abuses.
– Turkmenistan imposes severe foreign travel restrictions on its citizens
– The country’s ethnic minorities are widely discriminated against and it is forbidden to teach the customs and language of the Baloch minority.
All that in just under a minute of scanning the results of a Google search of Turkmenistan. I’m not sure how much Lopez pays her handlers, but she might want to reconsider their employment status because apparently, they have never heard of the internet. Making matters even worse, during the performance at a lavish new resort complex that only a dictator could dream up, Lopez’s choreographer, J.R. Taylor tweeted: “The Turkmenistan breeze feels amazing at night, kidz! I wonder were all my Turkmenistan followers are!? Hit me up!” J-Lo’s representatives also failed to discover that Twitter is banned in Turkmenistan.
It’s an embarrassing moment for Jennifer Lopez and crew, but I’m sure they got paid enough money to hit the spa post extravaganza and clean off all the egg from their faces.
Featured image: CBS News