Emily Ratajkowski was invited to Saudi Arabia to make an official appearance at the MDL Beast festival, but turned down the opportunity, citing her human rights concerns. This, however, didn’t stop a slew of other celebrities from attending and promoting the event.
If you’ve noticed a number of influencers and personalities posting photos from Saudi Arabia, you’re not alone. In its latest post, fashion watchdog Diet Prada pointed out how over past week numerous celebrities, musicians and models convened in Riyadh for the festival, sharing geo-tagged snaps on social media. The page called this out as a deliberate campaign by the Saudi government, criticizing those involved for ignoring the country’s severe human rights abuses.
According to Diet Prada, celebrity attendees like Luka Sabbat, Peggy Gou, J Balvin and Arnie Hammer received “6-figure sums” to participate and “rehabilitate the image of Saudi Arabia.”
Evidently aware of the human rights crisis, Ratajkowski told Diet Prada, “It is very important to me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, freedom of expression and the right to a free press. I hope coming forward on this brings more attention to the injustices happening there.” Models Teddy Quinlivan and Martha Hunt have also spoken out against the regime.