After Serenading a Dictator, Jennifer Lopez Won’t Say If She’ll Keep the Fee

Mother Jones

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Gigli is no longer the most horrible thing J-Lo has ever done in her two-decade career.

Pop singer and actress Jennifer Lopez caused a stir over the weekend when news broke that she was appearing at the lavish birthday bash of Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the 56-year-old president—and human-rights-quashing, personality-cult-driven dictator—of Turkmenistan. The party was thrown at a Caspian Sea resort in the oil-rich Central Asian country on Saturday night. Lopez is reportedly the first big-time Western celebrity to visit Turkmenistan, and she performed at the event, singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” before a gathering of business executives and government officials.

She of course was paid for the performance, but her publicist, Shoshanna Stone of Edge Publicity, declined to divulge much she pocketed for serenading Berdymukhamedov. With human rights activists decrying her appearance at the party and many people calling for Lopez to return the cash or donate it to an outfit that opposes repression in Turkmenistan, Stone would not say whether J-Lo—who is worth a quarter of a billion dollars—is considering such a move.

Here is video of the gig. There are some amazing fireworks at the end.

The event was hosted by the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), a state-owned Chinese oil and gas company based in Dongcheng District in Beijing that has seen its fair share of accidents and controversies. (CNPC did not respond to Mother Jones‘ multiple requests for comment.)

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After Serenading a Dictator, Jennifer Lopez Won’t Say If She’ll Keep the Fee

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