Posted on Tue Mar 1, 2011 12:21 PM PDT
Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Usher and 50 Cent are facing calls from music industry insiders to return the millions they made performing for members of controversial Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's family members.
Mariah Carey reportedly earned $1 million in 2008 to sing only four songs for Qaddafi's son, Muatassim, during a New Year's Eve bash in St. Barts.
Beyonce and Usher also performed for an undisclosed sum for family members on the same Caribbean island just one year later. 50 Cent performed for Muatassim at a 2005 film festival in Venice.
"If it were me, it would go to charity," says Buck Williams, an agent for R.E.M. and Widespread Panic. As for what these performers, who are millionaires several times over, should do with this cash, "Hopefully donate it to a charity that somehow assists some of the people who have suffered at the hands of that regime," an agent for Arcade Fire told Rolling Stone.
Artists faced similar criticism decades ago after playing at a resort in South Africa during apartheid. Rod Stewart, Queen and the British band Status Quo donated money to charities after facing similar outcries.
But despite the current unrest going on in his country, Quaddafi didn't suddenly become a bad guy. In 1988, he ordered the bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, which resulted in the deaths of 270 people. So why would they perform for such a corrupt ruler in the first place?
"Ninety percent of the time the artist has no clue," says Williams. "I donâ€™t think most artists go into [performing at a party like this] with that kind of in-depth focus, [of] how each country is governed and what goes on inside each country," an agent for Metallica, Billy Joel and Rod Stewart said. "Not every artist is a humanitarian. In more cases than not, for people, greed rules."
But for one artist, that's clearly not the case. On Friday, Nelly Furtado tweeted:
"In 2007, I received 1million$ from the Qaddafi clan to perform a 45 min. Show for guests at a hotel in Italy. I am going to donate the $"
Although Nelly is certainly not hurting, if she can afford to donate her $1 million fee, can't Beyonce and Mariah and 50 afford it a hundred times over?
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