Weeks before the show, billboards began appearing begging the Canadian to reconsider.
Justin Bieber is in the hot seat following a recent performance in Saudi Arabia. The “Love Yourself” singer took to the stage at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday to sing a few of his hits for audiences at the F1 Grand Prix, despite cries of outrage coming from upset fans.
As reported by TMZ, last month, eye-catching ads began appearing on trucks in Downtown Los Angeles, petitioning for the Canadian to reconsider his decision to perform in SA. “Bieber, Your Saudi Boss Murders Journalists. Do the right Thing, Cancel,” one of them reads. “Why is Bieber singing for a Saudi dictator who executes gay men?” another asks.
The country’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is seen as a threat by many human rights advocates, and they see the 27-year-old agreeing to perform for him as complacency with his problematic and harmful behaviour. “If you refuse to be a pawn of MBS, your message will be loud and clear: I do not perform for dictators. I choose justice and freedom over money,” Hatice Cengiz, the widowed fiancée of murdered Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi wrote to the star.
Cengiz’s plea, and the countless others, seemingly weren’t heard by Bieber, as he performed alongside a roster of names like David Guetta, Tiesto, and A$AP Rocky. Superstar athlete Lewis Hamilton won the race, and it’s been reported that the Ontario-born vocalist sung “Deserve You,” “Somebody,” and “Hold On,” among other titles.
His wife, Hailey Bieber, was also at the event, wearing a mask and a hat, laying low while taking in the show. Check out some clips below.