Celebs Dragged for Celebrating Saudi Arabia at Kingdom’s Image-Polishing Rave

Supermodels, movie stars, and influencers faced outrage on Monday for partying at a three-day rave in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which was reportedly created to boost the country’s economy and polish its image abroad in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Social media posts from Call Me By Your Name actor Armie Hammer; Russian model Irina Shayk; former Victoria’s Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio; and actors Ryan Phillipe, Ed Westwick, and Wilmer Valderrama were tagged at the MDL Beast music festival over the weekend, which was reportedly sponsored by the kingdom. Event organizers invited more than 70 world-renowned DJs to the festival to perform on five stages, where thousands waited for hours to get in and tickets started around $20, according to the Associated Press.

It was not clear if the celebs were ignorant of the human rights issues that have recently plagued Saudi Arabia—including the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Khashoggi in October 2018 by Saudi agents and the arrest of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul in May 2018—or if they just did not care. The CIA has said that the murder of Khashoggi could not have been carried out unless Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman authorized it.

Saudis Put Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder Behind Them With Death Sentences and a Three-Day Rave

“When your buddy asks you to go to join him in Riyadh… you go to Riyadh,” Hammer wrote on Instagram. “#mdlbeast has been amazing so far!”

“What I just witnessed was truly special,” Hammer said in another post on the social-media site. “I saw Saudi men and women ecstatic about an event that they never thought they would ever see in their lifetimes… it felt like a cultural shift. A change. Like Woodstock in the 1960’s. Social evolution is slow and takes time but what I was able to be a part of felt like one giant seed of growth. The people there throwing themselves into the experience will lead a cultural revolution that we all need to get behind and support. #mdlbeast

yahoo.com / balkantimes.press

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