It’s been a big, controversial week for Justin Bieber. In addition to stepping outside in those weirdo Yeezy tube boots, he also appeared on stage at Ye’s Sunday Service with alleged sex abuser Marilyn Manson and agreed to perform in something called the “Metaverse.” And now, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is asking him to bow out of a scheduled performance in Saudi Arabia. Currently, Bieber will play alongside A$AP Rocky, Jason Derulo, Tiesto, and David Guetta at the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021.
In a letter to the perpetually aloof pop star, the heads of the Human Rights Foundation pleaded that canceling the concert would be “a symbol of solidarity with the ongoing suffering of the Saudi people.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, the organization’s chairman, Garry Kasparov, and CEO, Thor Halvorssen, wrote the letter and sent it to Bieber’s representatives.
The letter states:
We are writing to urgently inform you of the human rights crisis in Saudi Arabia; to explain the role that the regime of MBS [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] has played in violating the rights of tens of millions of Saudis; to ask that you consider the unfortunate implications of your engagement with the brutal dictatorship of MBS; and to respectfully request that, in light of your status as a global personality, you take this opportunity to positively influence human rights policy in Saudi Arabia by canceling your appearance, as a symbol of solidarity with the ongoing suffering of the Saudi people.
On their website, the group went into greater detail. “The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) considers the Saudi regime to be one of the world’s worst human rights violators, and has contacted Mr. Bieber and his team, urging him to cancel his performance and refuse the Kingdom’s efforts to whitewash its appalling human rights record.”
The group notes that in 2019, the HRF successfully convinced Nicki Minaj to cancel a Saudi Arabia performance. “After better educating myself on the issues, I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, and freedom of expression,” Minaj said in a statement at the time.
American entertainers performing in Saudi Arabia has long been a target for human rights groups. In 2018, World Wrestling Entertainment came under fire for holding an event in the country weeks after the killing of Saudi Arabian journalist and dissident Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi. The WWE had its most recent Crown Jewel event less than a month ago.