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US singer Mariah Carey (VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
US singer Mariah Carey (VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

‘Repressive’

Mariah Carey accused of helping Saudi Arabia promote ‘fake reforms’ with marquee performance

By WITW Staff on January 31, 2019

Women’s rights activists are calling on Mariah Carey to cancel a planned performance in Saudi Arabia that they warn is being used as propaganda to distract from the country’s systemic oppression of women. Carey is slated to perform in Saudi Arabia for the first time on Thursday alongside popular performers Sean Paul and DJ Tiesto as part of a concert that will also highlight the country’s first international golf tournament.

But fans of the singer — and critics of the country’s guardianship system, which bars women from traveling, seeking healthcare, or even filing a complaint with police without permission from a man — are urging her to cancel the performance so that her fame isn’t used to “showcase” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “fake reforms.”

If Carey were to perform, activists note, she would become the most famous Western singer to take the stage in Saudi Arabia since Salman relaxed the country’s strict rules on the entertainment industry. But activists say that such reforms, including the crown prince’s decision to grant women the right to drive, are being used to distract from the country’s continued embrace of the oppressive male guardianship system, as well as the imprisonment and torture of women’s rights activists who fought for the very reforms Salman passed in the first place.

“Doesn’t she know Saudi Arabia is one of the most repressive and murderous regimes on the planet?” wrote women’s activist group CodePink in a statement calling on Carey to not “artwash” the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Karen Attiah, the editor for late Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey in October, also called on Carey, Sean Paul, and DJ Tiesto to not “be a part of” a regime that “kills and dismembers U.S.-based journalists.”

In a statement made to the Associated Press, Carey’s publicists declined to directly address the criticism.

“Mariah accepted the opportunity as a positive step towards the dissolution of gender segregation,” they wrote, adding that “Mariah recognizes the cultural significance of this event and will continue to support global efforts towards equality for all.”

Read the full story at The Independent.

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