The performer sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow while wearing a traditional Turkmen outfit, The Daily Mail reported.
Human Rights Watch ranks Turkmenistan as “among the most repressive in the world,” The Mail said.
Miss Lopez released a statement after the concert apologizing for the event, claiming ignorance of the government’s atrocities. She said she never would have agreed to perform in a country with such deplorable conditions, The Mail reported.
A tweet by the singer’s choreographer, J.R. Taylor, received fierce criticism and was promptly deleted.
“The Turkmenistan Breeze feels amazing at night Kidz! I wonder were [sic] all my Turkmenistan followers are!? Hit me up!” the tweet read.
The concert took place at a $2 billion resort on the Caspian Sea that Mr. Berdimuhamedow had opened the day prior, The Mail reported. It was sponsored by China National Petroleum Corp., a major investor in Turkmenistan’s thriving gas industry.
“Lopez obviously has the right to earn a living performing for the dictator of her choice and his circle of cronies, but her actions utterly destroy the carefully-crafted message she has cultivated with her prior involvement with Amnesty International’s programs in Mexico aimed at curbing violence against women,” Human Rights Foundation President Thor Halvorssen said in a statement.