Online petitions called on Justin Bieber to cancel his upcoming concert in Saudi Arabia because of the persecution of Saudi Arabian women. Some of those petitions were started by the family of New York Times columnist Jamal Khashoggi, whose death at the hands of Saudi Arabian operatives at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey has reignited a debate in international relations about whether that country has a human rights record worse than North Korea. Critics of the gig on social media pointed out that Bieber and Prince Mohammed bin Salman had formerly been photographed playing sports together, but were now being invited to the same country by people who are actively engaged in persecuting women. Others were pro-sanctioning the event, pointing out that many tourists come to Saudi Arabia to enjoy young starlets instead of being politicized.
The State Department says it is reviewing the Saudi-Canadian developments but not the proposal to invite Bieber to appear in the country.
Since his 2010 debut, Bieber has become one of the most prolific music celebrities on social media, with more than 56 million followers on Instagram alone.
The singer is expected to perform the concert in Jeddah.