Armie Hammer, Sofia Richie Hollywood Stars Slammed as ‘Sellouts’ for Promoting Music Festival in Saudi Arabia

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Actor Armie Hammer and model Sofia Richie were among a group of celebrities who recently put their vast social media following to the service of Saudi Arabia, appearing at a music festival in Riyadh as part of the kingdom’s on-going effort to rehabilitate its image.

But what was likely an all-expense-paid trip for people who don’t need it has turned into a social media debacle, with the celebrities facing accusations that they were working for an authoritarian regime that tramples human rights.

The Social Network‘s Armie Hammer posted photos to his Instagram account showing him partying up in Riyadh. He was photographed posing with fellow actors Ryan Phillippe, Wilmer Valderrama, Ed Westwick, and model Joan Smalls at the MDL Beast Festival, which took place Thursday and featured such notable DJs as Tiesto, Steve Aoki, and David Guetta.

Hammer praised Saudi Arabia as a land in the midst of great cultural change.

“What I just witnessed was truly special. 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,” Hammer wrote.

“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.”

But Hammer’s enthusiasm has been met with skepticism over Saudi Arabia’s role in the death of Jamal Khashoggi and its treatment of LGBT individuals.

Journalist Yashar Ali said that a major star told him that she and her husband were offered an eight-figure sum to attend but declined.

Ali singled out Hammer and Westwick for attending the event.

“Hope it was worth it @armiehammer. Did you find Jamal Khashoggi’s body while you were there?” Ali tweeted.

Ali also called actor actor Westwick for invoking UNICEF in an Instagram post from the Riyadh party.

Sofia Richie, the celebutante daughter of singer Lionel Richie, posted a photo of herself with friends on Instagram with the caption “Saudi girls.”

But after she was inundated with a barrage of negative comments, she deleted the caption but kept the photo.

Richie was also blasted by human rights lawyer Gissou Nia, who tweeted that “a raft of influencers were just paid (again) to fly to Saudi to brighten MBS’s [Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud’s] image.”

Model Teddy Quinlivan piled on, saying in a social media post “If you’re an influencer and you’re promoting tourism to a place that openly kills journalists and LGBTQ people as well as a list of other horrible and archaic laws and policies: You’re a f**king SELL OUT.”

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