A leading human rights organization has hit out at Mariah Carey after the singer took part in a gala concert in Saudi Arabia telling DailyMailTV her decision to perform in the country is ‘outrageous’.
Carey, 48, jetted into Saudi capital Riyadh on Thursday ahead of the gig, which took place in King Abdullah Economic City a showpiece development perched on the shores of the Red Sea.
The concert, which was staged in front of members of the ruling regime, was held to celebrate the country’s first international golf tournament.
Local activists decried the singer’s decision to take part and accused her of ‘whitewashing’ the Saudi regime’s brutal treatment of critics, among them murdered reporter Jamal Khashoggi.
Now the US-based Human Rights Foundation has added to the chorus of criticism, with research associate Prachi Vidwans describing the singer’s decision to perform as ‘outrageous’ in an interview with DailyMailTV.
A leading human rights organization has hit out at Mariah Carey after the singer took part in a gala concert in Saudi Arabia – telling DailyMailTV her decision to perform in the country is ‘outrageous’
Now the US-based Human Rights Foundation has added to the chorus of criticism, with research associate Prachi Vidwans describing the singer’s decision to perform as ‘outrageous’ in an interview with DailyMailTV
‘Today in Saudi prisons, women are being beaten, tortured, and sexually harassed for opposing laws that violate their basic human rights and force them to be second class citizens in their own country,’ Vidwans said.
‘It is outrageous that an iconic figure like Mariah Carey — who herself claims to be an advocate for women’s rights — would perform for Mohammed Bin Salman’s brutal regime.
‘By performing for him, she will be contributing to his PR campaign by helping him appear modern and progressive.’
Vidwans said the Human Rights Foundation also sent letters to the managers of both Tiesto and Carey ahead of the gig, calling on them to pull out.
In the letter sent to Carey, seen by DailyMail.com, the organization accused the singer of being ‘complicit’ in the regime’s multiple human rights violations by taking part and pointed to its activities in Yemen, as well as its treatment of women.
The missive also contrasted Carey’s oft stated support of women’s rights with the reality for women living in Saudi Arabia who must ask for permission from a male relative to do everything from work to travel.
Writing in the letter, HRF chairman Garry Kasparov also noted that many of the activists responsible for overturning the country’s notorious driving ban have now been thrown in jail where they are allegedly being tortured.
The concert, staged for the ruling regime, including Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (pictured), celebrated the country’s first international golf tournament
He continued: ‘Ms. Carey has been an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and has publicly campaigned against gender discrimination.
‘Saudi Arabia is by far one of the most patriarchal societies in the world and systematically violates women’s rights. Because of the regime’s male guardianship system, women cannot work, travel, get married, or exit prison without permission from a male relative.
‘Legally, women are second class citizens. Ms. Carey’s decision to perform in Saudi Arabia severely undermines her own views on gender equality and her advocacy efforts in support of women’s rights.
‘Despite her alleged commitment to human rights and humanitarian causes, Ms. Carey has decided to perform for a murderous regime.
‘If Ms. Carey moves forward with this performance, she will be complicit in the Saudi regime’s attempt to detract attention away from the country’s disastrous human rights situation.’
Vidwans said the Human Rights Foundation also sent letters to the managers of both Tiesto and Carey ahead of the gig, calling on them to pull out. Pictured: Carey performing on Thursday
Carey’s representatives have yet to respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com but told the Associated Press earlier this week that she regards the concert as ‘a positive step towards the dissolution of gender segregation’.
The rep added in a statement: ‘As the first female international artist to perform in Saudi Arabia, Mariah recognizes the cultural significance of this event and will continue to support global efforts towards equality for all.’
The Saudi Arabian ruling dynasty has long attracted the ire of human rights campaigners but criticism of the regime has intensified in recent years, due to its ongoing war with Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – who is known by his initials ‘MBS’ – had initially appeared to be a modernizer; overturning the ban on women driving and relaxing some of the country’s more draconian religious laws.
But in October, he was found to have ordered the murder of Washington Post journalist Khashoggi, who was strangled and dismembered inside the Saudi Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
MBS also oversaw a purge of fellow princes that saw hundreds locked up inside the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh until they handed over billions of dollars in cash and assets to the regime.