a celebrity who performs for an exorbitant amount of money at a private party sponsored by a tyrranical petty potentate from a developing nation with a very dubious human rights record.
Hollywood has some eminently respectable faces in the likes of people like George Clooney, Bono, Sean Penn and Don Cheadle, folks who spend much of their free time in undesirable locales like Sudan and Haiti attempting to make the world a better place.
And then there are those other types, the Hollywood whores, who sell their wares on private yachts in the Mediterraean to evil rulers, their spoiled brat children and their damnable coterie of amoral fairweather friends. A number of notable instances of whoring have come to light in recent weeks including Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Usher, and most recently Nellie Furtado who was paid one million dollars to perform for the family of Muammar Gadhafi in 2007.
Apparently now that this has come to light Furtado has decided to donate the money to charity. I suppose four years late is better than never. Still, you gotta wonder why it takes the fall out of a public relations disaster before your moral compass kicks in. To put it bluntly, why isn’t there more of a stigma to performing like a trained poodle for shekels stained with the blood and tears of the oppressed masses?
It may be too much to expect some people to operate with a moral compass, so I suggest we revert to plan B: public shame. Back in 1985 the Artists United Against Apartheid released the song and album “Sun City” (the name of a major resort in South Africa) with the unforgettable refrain “I ain’t gonna play in Sun City.” Together they took a bold and vocal moral stand against the many artists who were willing to overlook the evils of apartheid in order to receive enough money to buy their own Magnum PI Ferrari. Not only did they take the high road, but in their own small way they became a footnote in the dismantling of an evil regime.
I think it is time for a reprise, a new uniting of artists willing to take a moral stand. I admit that “I ain’t gonna play Gadhafi” might not be quite as catchy but it certainly is a great message. I can even think of a few great candidates who could start their penance by taking the lead vocals.