Sonam Kapoor at Cannes 2019. Photograph:( Instagram )
While the fest was in news for the glamour, it also made buzz because many people on social media criticised it for being a tool for “whitewashing” the nation’s image.
A mega scale musical event took place in Saudi Arabia as high profile celebrities from all around the world including fashionistas and influencers came to show their support. One such name that strikes us is Indian actress Sonam Kapoor Ahuja who shared several snaps of self from the event.
While the fest was in news for the glamour, it also made buzz because many people on social media criticised it for being a tool for “whitewashing” the nation’s image, considering that they still impose draconian laws and the society is still at large against feminism. The nation called it an “extremist idea” among other things.
An Instagram page Diet Prada took a dig at Sonam Kapoor because she became a part of the event, which was meant to boost tourism to the nation even though it indulges in a lot of human rights abuses. The issue snowballed and became one of the most talked-about when an indirect reference became a tug of war (of words) between Sonam and the page.
Diet Prada had shared a collage of images of celebrity influencers, calling them out for participating. The post read, “What’s worse than an all-white @revolve influencer trip? Cashing big fat checks in exchange for #content creation (aka propaganda) to rehabilitate the image of Saudi Arabia, a country said to be causing “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”, according to the United Nations. According to anonymous sources, six-figure sums were offered for attendance and geo-tagged posts.”
What’s worse than an all white @revolve influencer trip? Cashing big fat checks in exchange for #content creation (aka propaganda) to rehabilitate the image of Saudi Arabia, a country said to be causing “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”, according to the United Nations. According to anonymous sources, six-figure sums were offered for attendance and geo-tagged posts. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Following the government’s pre-meditated murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi in October 2018 , the arrest of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul in May 2018, the outing of a gay Saudi journalist and his partner who began receiving death threats from their families (homosexuality is a crime in Saudi Arabia and punishable by death), and countless other human rights abuses, a bevy of supermodels, influencers, celebrities, and musicians convened in Riyadh for the inaugural @mdlbeast . According to @hypebeast , the electronic music festival is “one of the most significant musical events the region has ever seen”. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Saudi Arabia has been spending billions to change its image in the west, but this is sure to be the most expensive campaign yet. In a series of Instagram stories posted by transgender model @teddy_quinlivan , it was revealed that fellow model @emrata had turned down the trip, evidently aware of the country’s human rights crisis. “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”, said Ratajkowski in a statement to Diet Prada. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Unfortunately, not all shared the same sentiments. There are simply too many attendees to name. Dieters, feel free to tag any attendees you know of... just in case they haven’t been reading the news. • #propoganda #jamalkashoggi #humanrights #humanrightsabuse #lgbtq #lgbtqrights #freespeech #journalism #independent #womensrights #mdlbeast #edm #electronicmusic #supermodel #influencer #content #riyadh #emrata #emilyratajkowski #teddyquinlivan #model #celebrity #dj #electronicmusic #musicfestival #wtf #smh #government #corruption #dietprada
Sonam Kapoor shared the Instagram story and addressed to the criticism saying, “Let's agree to disagree, let's appreciate that the whole world is a shithole right now and any positive step forward is something that I want to celebrate. I was treated with immense respect and love as a Hindu brown female actor.”
Diet Prada then took on Sonam and shared snaps of other women who experienced sexual harassment at the same electronic music festival. It said that Sonam’s reaction was "a typical tone-deaf response of celebrities who receive 'preferential treatment'."
The guest list included actors Armie Hammer, Ryan Phillipe, Ed Westwick, supermodels Winnie Harlow and Alessandra Ambrioso.