Kanye West must have known he would face criticism once news leaked that he sang at the Kazakhstan wedding of a controversial leader’s grandson.
Here it comes, more or less right on schedule.
“Kazakhstan is a human rights wasteland,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of the Human Rights Foundation in a statement. “The regime crushes freedom of speech and association; someone like Kanye, who makes a living expressing his views, would find himself in a prison under Nazarbayev’s rule. This particular dictator’s ruthless behavior includes kidnapping the families of dissidents to his rule and abusing judicial systems across the world in persecuting his opponents.”
West reportedly raked in $3 million for the performance.
West isn’t the only high-profile act lured by a dictatorial leader to perform. Jennifer Lopez sang for Turkmenistan leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow earlier in the summer. Lopez claimed she wasn’t aware of the broader political picture in play.