Sonam Kapoor was in Saudi Arabia recently as an ‘influencer’ to attend The MDL Beast Festival which took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. However, things turned a little sour after the women present there were faced with sexual harassment. A lot of celebrities got backlash for attending and promoting the festival despite human rights in Saudi.
Fashion and culture commentary Instagram account Diet_Prada publicly called out these celebrities including Bollywood entertainer Sonam Kapoor.
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What’s worse than an all white @revolve influencer trip? Cashing big fat checks in exchange for #content creation (aka propaganda) to rehabilitate the image of Saudi Arabia, a country said to be causing “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”, according to the United Nations. According to anonymous sources, six-figure sums were offered for attendance and geo-tagged posts. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Following the government’s pre-meditated murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi in October 2018 , the arrest of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul in May 2018, the outing of a gay Saudi journalist and his partner who began receiving death threats from their families (homosexuality is a crime in Saudi Arabia and punishable by death), and countless other human rights abuses, a bevy of supermodels, influencers, celebrities, and musicians convened in Riyadh for the inaugural @mdlbeast . According to @hypebeast , the electronic music festival is “one of the most significant musical events the region has ever seen”. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Saudi Arabia has been spending billions to change its image in the west, but this is sure to be the most expensive campaign yet. In a series of Instagram stories posted by transgender model @teddy_quinlivan , it was revealed that fellow model @emrata had turned down the trip, evidently aware of the country’s human rights crisis. “It is very important to me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, freedom of expression and the right to a free press. I hope coming forward on this brings more attention to the injustices happening there”, said Ratajkowski in a statement to Diet Prada. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Unfortunately, not all shared the same sentiments. There are simply too many attendees to name. Dieters, feel free to tag any attendees you know of… just in case they haven’t been reading the news. • #propoganda #jamalkashoggi #humanrights #humanrightsabuse #lgbtq #lgbtqrights #freespeech #journalism #independent #womensrights #mdlbeast #edm #electronicmusic #supermodel #influencer #content #riyadh #emrata #emilyratajkowski #teddyquinlivan #model #celebrity #dj #electronicmusic #musicfestival #wtf #smh #government #corruption #dietprada
Diet Prada accused the celebrities of ‘cashing big fat checks in exchange for content creation (aka propaganda) to rehabilitate the image of Saudi Arabia” especially over human rights violation. Moreover, there were allegations of sexual harassment of women in the concert too.
— فاتن ?? I am my own master (@FatenAlbahrania) December 22, 2019
One of the attendees even recalled how girls in hijabs were also harassed. However, Sonam Kapoor, Bollywood starlet whose hypocrisy is as nauseating as acting skills, dismissed these harassment concerns by claiming how she was respected even as a “Hindu brown female actor”.
Sonam Kapoor conveniently forgot that while she may be ‘Hindu brown female actor’, she was still an actor. That comes with privilege. That just because she was the quintessential ‘minority’ in an Islamic country, she was still a celebrity invited by organisers and that comes with privilege. Diet Prada called out hypocrisy of Sonam Kapoor even louder in subsequent posts.
Diet Prada questioned Sonam Kapoor on her choice to promote Saudi Arabia, a country where homosexuality is subjected to capital punishment, when she is such a vocal supporter of LGBT community. Taking a dig at her, Diet Prada even asked her to donate the money she received as ‘influencer’ from Saudi authorities to LGBTQ advocacy groups.