Will PR Take the Fall for JLo’s Serenade in Turkmenistan?


On Saturday, June 29, Jennifer Lopez sang "Happy Birthday" to Turkmenistan's president, Gurbanguly M. Berdimuhamedov, at a concert in Avaza, Turkmenistan. Today, there's PR hell to pay, as fans and media wonder why JLo would serenade a dictator.

At first glance, this seems like a simple case of terribleor novetting. The human rights issues in Turkmenistan are a simple Google search away. Lopez's publicist insisted the event had been vetted in a statement on July 1, adding, "Had there been knowledge of human rights issues any kind, Jennifer would not have attended."

You can't help but wonder if, at this stage in her superstardom, Lopez is willing to listen to a PR team, or if a PR team has access (or the courage) to challenge a business decision. Happy Birthday-gate occurred at a China National Petroleum Company event, for which Lopez likely collected upwards of $1 million to perform. In fact, she has a history of being paid more than six figures for private events like this: Lopez has also performed at the wedding of a Uzbek businessman in Ukraine, reportedly for $1 million, and for the Azeri magnate Telman Ismailov, reportedly for $1.4 million. In addition, she doesn't pay too much attention to politics, according to The Guardian, which reported that before two performances in Russia, Lopez refused to expand upon the human rights situation with fans during a phone-in, saying, "I don't like to talk politics, to be quite honest."

It's quite possible that someone on Lopez's team had researched the record of human rights in Turkmenistan, but wasn't able (or willing) to raise a red flag. Or a red flag was raised by the PR team, and someone else disregarded that red flag. In any case, when dealing with a powerful ego or an omnipotent figure at the center of an organization, PR professionals may heed the instinct to protect their position within that organization—at the risk of their own professional reputation.

Follow Lucia Davis: @LKCDavis.




1 Comment

avatar

About Lucia Davis

Lucia Davis is community editor for PR News. Prior to returning to NYC, she was associate editor at iMedia Connection in Culver City, CA. In addition to PR News and iMedia, Lucia's writing has appeared in minonline, "The Minetta Review," "EQUITIES Magazine," and "The Foothills Paper."



Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Social Media 20/20 Summit

PRN_summit_ads_175x135_ep

This gathering will feature some key influencers and operators in social media, sharing their knowledge and experience in a full day of eye-opening sessions. You will take away practical knowledge to increase the visibility of your brand and expand its reach on social media.

Use code “150off” at checkout.

Get $50 off PR News' Media Relations Guidebook

book-mediarelations-180x150

This 8-chapter resource contains practical implications for some of the most innovative developments in media relations, including the technologies, methodologies and mannerisms that determine the ecosystem in which PR pros practice this essential part of their craft.

Use code “50off” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription

Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.