Last week actress, Rose McGowan came under fire from LGBT activists for throwing a shindig at a hotel owned by the Sultan of Brunei, which was definitely nice for him.
However, in case it’s the kind of thing that gets underreported in Western mainstream media, the Sultan of Brunei is also a hearty advocate of the legal slaughter of gay people in his own country, having signed into the penal code of law in Brunei, a change that renders homosexuality punishable by stoning to death. So there’s that.
McGowan then went on, as a guest, to Brett Easton Ellis’ podcast, which I didn’t listen to (because of course I didn’t), not only to justify her dictator enhancing hooley, but to somehow shift the blame back on to the gays, as a whole entire singular entity no less, because they are misogynistic and don’t support women the same way that women support the gays. A sweeping statement but Ok, so far? Ok.
Surprisingly, appearing on a Brett Easton Ellis podcast didn’t exactly help her case in not coming off as a self-involved bigot so she took to Twitter and requested that long-running, Putin-hating, US based, LGBT publication, The Advocate, give her a crack at Ian op-ed. As she put it herself, it’s either that or the Huffington Post.
McGowan’s op-ed for The Advocate went a lot better. She apologized and put her homophobic leaning outbursts down to just being pissed off because a gay friend of hers spoke disrespectfully about one of the Golden Girls (which is understandably unacceptable, to any gay, anywhere) and then continued to make more salient points about misogyny within wider gay culture. Without going into details, and avoiding generalization, you’d have to be deluded not to acknowledge that this does exist. So congrats for finally getting there, Rose.
So what’s the outcome? Where are we now?
Outcome: Taking responsibility for elevating the wealth of a powerful human rights violator successfully deflected, basically. Dictator/D-list celebrity dealings shall continue unmarked by comment until us schlubby gay men around the world manage to convince our rich and brainless Hollywood counterparts to stop being dicks to women.
Where does that leave us?
Well back to the original issue actually. Let it be highlighted that in these terms, Rose McGowan isn’t even the worst celeb offender. At least she managed to create a conversation about something, where others would have just “donated” to “charity”.
So normally, when it comes to singing Happy Birthday to wealthy, ruthless fascists, many of our faves are more inclined to accept massive amounts of currency from them as opposed to raising it for them. It’s kind of a go-to project for the freelance celebrity whose star is fading and needs to inject some hard investment into their brand.
So hold on to your buttcheeks, here are ten of your favourite celebs and the genocidal autocrats who loved them, who you now also have to love because who cares about “normal” people:
Erykah Badu did not come off well, after it was disclosed that she played a birthday concert for the King of Swaziland. Having gained me as a fan due to the political nature of some of her music, Badu then took to Twitter to display how much of a self absorbed asshole she actually is, basically saying that the people of Swaziland were not worth her consideration and weakly claiming “And all the money that I got from the trip I gave to all the servants in the house.”
She then went on to blame Human Rights groups for taking advantage of her, by saying “Because of my status, it’s a media opportunity for the human rights groups to further their agenda.” She has since taken to filming herself busking horribly on the streets of Manhattan, singing extremely shittily (“give me your money” being the sole lyrical content) and making no money, as a result.
Swank was paid to attend the birthday party of Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader accused of torture, abductions and killings. In October 2011, Swank got into a lengthy furore over this, blamed her reps, got dropped by said reps for being rude, and then claimed to have donated her appearance fee from the Chechnya event to “Ugh! Some charity or something.”
For a while, a couple of years ago, Jenny From the Block was becoming increasingly known as Jenny From the Eastern Bloc. The only way to get through J-Lo’s exploits is by summing them.
Lopez has been accused of receiving more than $10 million for “serenading crooks and dictators” from Russia and a number of former Soviet republics. Among them: President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow,Uzbek industrialist Azam Aslamov, Ramzan Kadyrov, and allegedly corrupt Russian businessman Telman Ismailov.
He’s pretty tight with Kim Jong Un. There’s not a lot more to this story, other than he’s regarded as the first (only?) American to meet Kim Jong Un. Dennis and Kim Jong Un just like each other. there has probably been symbolic gift giving and awkward silences but you can tell that the love is there, and that’s all that matters.
Rodman went on to suggest that his friendship with the North Korean dictator should render him eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize, which seems fair seeing that I won it in 2012, for being a part of the European Union.
Woah Nelly gave a private concert for the Gaddafi clan in 2007, which was not cool. She also said she would donate the $1 million she made from her efforts to charity. She lied however and actually put a $1 million contract out on the life of the fan who drew this picture of her (above).
Beyonce partied with the Gaddafis for cash. She sang for the family and its entourage at a private party in 2009. After being roundly criticized, she said she would “Fucking donate the money to a charity working in stupid fucking Haiti OK. Thanks for wasting my time and energy, you fucking vampires.”
Beyonce also sang a nice song about “punching a little brown dog in the neck” at the inauguration of President Obama, whose drone strikes have killed many civilians and children around the globe, of which she is also proud.
Mariah Carey also performed for the Gaddafi clan and said she felt “horrible and embarrassed” afterwards.
She actually felt so horrible and embarrassed that she went and straight away did it again. She went to Angola to play a concert for President José Eduardo dos Santos. 70% of the population in Angola live on less than $2 a day. Carey was paid $1m.
Hansel from Zoolander pretty much sums up the impact that Sting’s career has had on social consciousness: “Sting- the music he’s created over the years? I don’t really listen to it but the fact that he’s making it, I respect that!”
Sting, funnily enough, defended his decision to play a concert for Uzbek president, Islam Karimov, stating, “I have come to believe that cultural boycotts are not only pointless gestures, they are counter-productive, where proscribed states are further robbed of the open commerce of ideas and art and as a result become even more closed, paranoid and insular.”
Sting wasn’t available for the Kazakhstan gig so Kanye did it for a cool $3m. The man most notable for rudely interrupting Taylor Swift that one time played at the wedding reception of Aisultan Nazarbayev, grandson of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Nazarbayev has been accused of violent attacks on demonstrators and crackdowns on independent media outlets, and torture among other offences.
Everyone knows that when Naomi isn’t angrily bludgeoning her assistants to death with her mobile phone, she is accepting blood diamonds from former Liberian president, Charles Taylor. At his war crimes tribunal in 2010, she admitted that she received the shitty looking diamonds from unknown men (but they were still obviously sent by Taylor).
What have we learned?
The reality is that no matter who your favourite celeb is, they are going to end up on the payroll of a genocidal lunatic at some point. Unless your favourite celeb is Morgan Fairchild, who seems to not only actually read the news but knows a thing or two about foreign policy to boot.
My point is that we should all only watch movies and TV shows starring Chandler’s mom in Friends because everyone else basically sucks.