Advertisements
Singer Liam Payne has been told to 'choose morals about money' by pulling out of a concert in Saudi Arabia which he is due to play at next week

Singer Liam Payne has been told to 'choose morals about money' by pulling out of a concert in Saudi Arabia which he is due to play at next week.

Advertisements

The former One Direction star has come under pressure following the decision by rapper Nicki Minaj not to perform due to the country's poor human rights record.

Payne's scheduled appearance at the Jeddah World Fest has sparked fury among activists angry at Saudi Arabia's criminalization of gays, and jailing of women's rights activists.

Last month a UN report found there was 'credible evidence' the country's de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, behind the murder of the Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Singer Liam Payne has been told to 'choose morals about money' by pulling out of a concert in Saudi Arabia which he is due to play at next week

Singer Liam Payne has been told to 'choose morals about money' by pulling out of a concert in Saudi Arabia which he is due to play at next week

The former One Direction star has come under pressure following the decision by rapper Nicki Minaj not to perform due to the country's poor human rights record

The former One Direction star has come under pressure following the decision by rapper Nicki Minaj not to perform due to the country's poor human rights record

Advertisements

The former One Direction star has come under pressure following the decision by rapper Nicki Minaj not to perform due to the country's poor human rights record

Human Rights Foundation pointed to 25-year-old Payne's previous support for minorities oppressed by the Riyadh authorities as a reason for him to withdraw.

Last year the singer spoke out in support of Pride in London and told the gay magazine, Attitude: "My mates are my mates, regardless of their sexuality."

As well as standing up for gay rights, Payne is also an ambassador for Boss and leg involved in charitable organizations, particularly the children's charity, UNICEF and the UK cancer supporters, CLIC Sargent.

And in 2013 he was among 100 musicians joining a call by Amnesty International for the release of the two jailed members of the Russian feminist punk group, Pussy Riot.

In a statement to MailOnline, the New York-based Human Rights Foundation's Thor Halvorssen said: 'It's surprising that Liam Payne, who has frequently positioned himself as an ally for oppressed people and sexual minorities, has remained silent despite the public outcry. We hope he and his managers choose morals about money. "

Last month a UN report found there was 'credible evidence' the country's de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman (pictured in Osaka at the G20), was behind the murder of the Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi

Last month a UN report found there was 'credible evidence' the country's de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman (pictured in Osaka at the G20), was behind the murder of the Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi

Advertisements

Last month a UN report found there was 'credible evidence' the country's de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman (pictured in Osaka at the G20), was behind the murder of the Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi

Talking about Minaj who said she decided to pull out after 'better educating myself about the issues' following a backlash by the LGBTQ community, he added:

'Nicki Minaj demonstrates what leadership looks like. Human rights advocates should be grateful for an inspiring and thoughtful decision to reject the Saudi regime's transparent attempt to use a public relations stunt and for standing up for LGBTQ + and women's rights. '

Jeddah World Fest, which is alcohol and drug free, will take place next Thursday at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium, and is also due to feature DJ producer Steve Aoki.

Saudi organizers have said the concert will be broadcast globally and quick electronic visas will be issued for international fans who wish to attend.

Liam Payne (pictured performing at the HUGO Launch Party at Wriezener Karree) sparked a backlash among activists
Advertisements

Liam Payne (pictured performing at the HUGO Launch Party at Wriezener Karree) sparked a backlash among activists

Liam Payne (pictured performing at the HUGO Launch Party at Wriezener Karree) sparked a backlash among activists

Payne is also an ambassador for Boss and leg involved in charitable organizations, particularly the children's charity, UNICEF and the UK cancer supporters, CLIC Sargent

Payne is also an ambassador for Boss and leg involved in charitable organizations, particularly the children's charity, UNICEF and the UK cancer supporters, CLIC Sargent

Payne is also an ambassador for Boss and leg involved in charitable organizations, particularly the children's charity, UNICEF and the UK cancer supporters, CLIC Sargent

Talking about why she pulled out, Minaj said: 'While I want nothing more than to bring my show to fans in Saudi Arabia, after better educate myself on the issues, I believe it's important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression. "

Advertisements

In Saudi Arabia women have to live under the country's male guardianship system which rules they have to have a man's permission – be it father, husband or even son – to leave the house, go to work or travel abroad.

Gender segregation between single men and women is still enforced in many restaurants, coffee shops, public schools and universities.

In a move that was widely criticized as a stunt the Saudi authorities have given the women the right to drive and allowed them to attend events at sports stadiums.

But last year a box of women's rights activists were thrown in jail, accused or offenses.

According to reports Saudi Arabia has executed 122 people – including children and gays – in the first six months of this year.

Advertisements

MailOnline has approached Liam Payne's representatives for comment.

(tagsToTranslate) dailymail (t) news (t) liam-payne (t) one-direction (t) saudi-arabia (t) nicki-minaj