Justin Bieber faces pressure to cancel F1 show in Saudi Arabia
November 21, 2021
Fiancée of slain Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi- Hatice Cengiz and Human Rights Watch urged the Popstar Justin Bieber to pull out of Formula One race performance in Saudi Arabia.
Hatice Cengiz wrote in her open letter to Bieber; “Please know that your invitation to participate in a concert in Jiddah comes directly from MBS, as the crown prince is known,” “Nothing of significance happens in Saudi Arabia without his consent, and certainly not an event as important and flashy as this.”
Human Rights Watch said these events are aimed at “sportwashing” by diverting attention and deflecting scrutiny from Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
Khashoggi wrote columns for The Washington Post criticizing the crown prince’s brash foreign policy moves and simultaneous crackdown on activists and perceived critics, including women’s rights activists, writers, clerics and economists.
This is not the first time popstars have been pressured to cancel a show in the country – Mariah Carey (though she brushed off the pressure to boy cott her show) and Nicki Minaj cancelled her appearance on stage at a concert in Jiddah, telling The Associated Press at the time she wanted to show support for women’s rights, gay rights and freedom of expression.
Bieber’s concert in Saudi Arabia comes shortly before he opens a world tour in February that was rescheduled from 2020 due to the pandemic.
Other performers include rapper A$AP Rocky, DJs David Guetta and Tiesto and singer Jason Derulo.