Jennifer Lopez is taking back her musical birthday wishes for Turkmenistan leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. The superstar, 43, was in the former Soviet bloc country on Saturday June 29, and sang "Happy Birthday" to dictator Berdimuhamedow during an event hosted by the China National Petroleum Corp. -- but Lopez says she was unaware of Berdimuhamedow's egregious human rights violations, and has apologized through her rep.
Turkmenestan is described by Human Rights Watch as "among the most repressive [countries] in the world," with a United Nations rep noting just last month that "a lot more work is needed" the nation to reach "international standards."
The "Dance Again" singer's told the Associated Press that the event was vetted by Lopez's staff. "Had there been knowledge of human rights issues any kind, Jennifer would not have attended," said the rep.
Thor Halvorssen of the Human Rights Foundation told the Hollywood Reporter: "Lopez obviously has the right to earn a living performing for the dictator of her choice and his circle of cronies. But her actions utterly destroy the carefully crafted message she has cultivated with her prior involvement with Amnesty International's programs in Mexico aimed at curbing violence against women."