On The Day Of Qaddafi’s Death, A New Service To Keep Celebrities Away From Dictators

Beyonce performing for Hannibal Qaddafi in 2009.

On the day of Muammar Qaddafi’s death, there’s something appropriate about the announcement of a new service that will help celebrities think twice about the people they take huge amounts of money to entertain at private events. The Qaddafi family were particularly aggressive clients of celebrity singers: Qaddafi’s son Hannibal paid Beyonce $2 million to perform in 2009, Mariah Carey got $1 million to perform at the same event, and Usher, Jay-Z, and Lionel Ritchie have also performed for the family or the regime.

But the Qaddafis were hardly the only authoritarians who bought performances by American stars, and these were hardly the only artists who clearly established the price at which they were willing to associate with dictators and human rights violators. I suppose its nice that very wealthy celebrities will now have a concierge service to make sure that they aren’t performing for secret war criminals, but with the more egregious offenders, a simple Google service should suffice. If folks want to play meaningfully in politics and social causes, they should demonstrate some integrity in gigs that represent egregious violations of their values.