Last Saturday night in Almaty, the capital of post-Soviet dictatorship Kazakhstan, Kim Kardashian joined her partner Kanye West at the wedding of Kazakh dictator Nursultan Nazarbaev’s grandson. According to Radio Liberty, Kardashian joined wedding guests to pose for photos. It is unclear how much the couple were paid to perform for the dictator’s grandson, but unconfirmed reports say West was paid as much as $3 million for the gig.
This isn’t the only time Kardashian has enjoyed a cosy trip to a dictatorship that violates human rights. In December 2012, Kardashian ignored appeals from human rights organisations not to visit the country during the government’s clampdown on the opposition. Instead she helped to promote business inside the country in particular “Millions of Milkshakes”. Before arriving in Bahrain, Kardashian tweeted to her 17 million followers: “Inshallah next week I head to Kuwait & Bahrain with my friend @sheerazhasan Time to set the record straight!”
On arrival she added: “I just got to Bahrain! OMG can I move here please? Prettiest place on earth!” A tweet deleted promptly after tear gas was fired on nearby protesters. Sheeraz Hasan, the person mentioned in her tweet with his business partner Paresh Shah founded the “Millions of Milkshakes” chain. The two were given a mandate by the government to “source unique investment opportunities” for Bahrain after a visit to Bahrain only weeks after the controversial Grand Prix in April 2012 (while human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja was on hunger strike). The pair enjoyed the delivery of a pair of Rolex watches from the royal family – direct to their private plane. It comes as no surprise that the trip they organised for Kardashian had her actively tweet praise for the regime while ignoring invitations to meet persecuted human rights activists such as the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.
Maybe we shouldn’t care that the international celebrity class has no qualms treating with dictators. The amounts of money on offer for single day visits trump actually releasing an album, or the effort of a TV series. It is more depressing to note the adulation these celebrities are held in when they are such morally bankrupt creatures.
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