Over the weekend, a music festival named MDL Beast went down in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A ton of celebrities posted from the event including Armie Hammer, Ryan Phillippe, Winnie Harlow, Sofia Richie, Irina Shayk, Scott Disick, Ed Westwick, Alessandra Ambrosio.
The music festival was sponsored by the Saudi Kingdom, which is known for being pretty awful when it comes to human rights. They have no rights for LGBT+ people, kill journalists and have limited women’s right.
The country’s recent controversy was the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. They also arrested a prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul.
Diet Prada, a popular fashion industry Instagram, first called out the influencers for their posts. They wrote, “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.”
Winnie Harlow gushed about her trip, “So grateful to be back in Saudi. The Kingdom holds a special place to me as I shot my first ever Vogue cover here in Riyadh this summer and I’m so happy to be back for @mdlbeast 🙏🏽🖤”
Ryan Phillippe couldn’t stop praising his time, “i had a magical day with wonderful people.will prob add to this caption later when i gather my thoughts again. i love travel. i love different cultures. i love how we can find ways to connect through our human oneness, the pure desire for love and freedom. no matter where in the world. hoping those connections help to bring even more positive change and progress #OneHouse.”
Sofie Richie even took some selfies inside the Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, captioning her posts “Saudi Girls.” The hotel is known for being the site where Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman detained his political opponents in the past.
Emily Ratajkowski turned down an offer to attend citing human rights violations.