NEW YORK (AP) — Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to the leader of Turkmenistan during a performance, but her representative says had she known there were human rights issues in the country, she wouldn’t have performed there at all.
Lopez performed in the former Soviet bloc country on Saturday night. A statement released by her publicist says it was for the China National Petroleum Corp. and wasn’t a political event.
However, the country’s leader, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow (gur-BAHN-goo-lee bair-dee-mukh-ha-MAY-doff), did attend. Berdimuhamedow has been criticized for oppressive rule by human rights organizations.
The statement says the event was vetted by Lopez’s representatives, but she wouldn’t have attended if she had known about the accusations.
According to the statement, the birthday song was a last-minute request made by the company to Lopez and she “graciously obliged.”
source: Associated Press