Superstar Jennifer Lopez — dancer, singer (sort of), actress (close enough), movie star, fragrance brand, TV commercial queen, sort of clothing designer, former Fly-girl and Idol judge — got some unwanted publicity this weekend.
Jenny From The Block was doing something that lots of celebs do, performing at a big stakes private party, presumably for millions of dollars.
Lopez performed for Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow in his home country Saturday night. Despite the leader’s oppressive record of human rights violations, which anyone with internet access could have Googled, by the way, Lopez did her gig and also took the stage to sing “Happy Birthday” to the dictator.
After being criticized by the Human Rights Foundation for the performance, Lopez’s rep is now addressing the controversy, saying the performance was part of a concert sponsored by “China National Petroleum Corporation that was presented to their local executives in Turkmenistan. [And] was not a government sponsored event or political in nature… The event was vetted by her representatives, had there been knowledge of human rights issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended.”
So is that an apology?
The problem with these gigs is that people willing to pay you millions for 15 minutes work may not be the most pure; in the past few years Beyonce, Hillary Swank, Nelly Furtado, Eminem, and others have gotten in PR nightmares for doing boneheaded things like private concerts for the Ghadaffi family. When the PR poop hits the PR fan they tend to apologize and pledge their fees to charity.
Now I tend to like J-Lo… she is charming enough in interviews, works pretty damn hard, and was surprisingly sweet and maternal as a judge on American Idol. But this was a bad misstep, and she needs a smarter comeback… how about “I’m sorry and I will give the full fee to the Red Cross”? Now that would be an awesome dance move.