Teddy Quinlivan Calls Out Influencer Trip To Saudi Arabia

Photo: Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images.
For a select group of influencers, it appears that money and lavish trips are the priority, even if their participation supports a government that violates human rights.
The celebrities were invited by the Saudi government, which has been working overtime to fix its image following a series of crimes against women, journalists, and LGBTQ people — most infamously, arresting women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, and murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And on Sunday, model and activist Teddy Quinlivan called out the influencer trip, which coincides with MDL Beast Festival in the Middle East and is part of a larger effort to improve the global perception of the country.
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The trip boasts big-name celebrities like Sofia Richie, Winnie Harlow, Alessandra Ambrosio, Joan Smalls, Irina Shayk, Luka Sabbat, Armie Hammer, and Ryan Phillippe.
“If you’ve been thinking you’re seeing a lot of ‘influencers’ in Saudi Arabia, you’re not wrong,” Quinlivan wrote on her Instagram stories. “The Saudi Arabian government is paying influencers to positively promote travel and events in Saudi Arabia,” she continued. “To save face after the brutal assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
Quinlivan continued: “If you’re an influencer and you’re promoting tourism to a place [that] openly kills journalists and LGBT people as well has a list of horrible and archaic laws and policies: You’re a fucking sell out.”
Model Emily Ratajkowski replied to Quinlivan (which Quinlivan also shared on her own Instagram story), sharing that she turned down that trip. “It is very important to me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, freedom of expression and the right to a free press,” Ratajkowski told Diet Prada. “I hope coming forward on this brings more attention to the injustices happening there.”
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What’s worse than an all white @revolve influencer trip? Cashing big fat checks in exchange for #content creation (aka propaganda) to rehabilitate the image of Saudi Arabia, a country said to be causing “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”, according to the United Nations. According to anonymous sources, six-figure sums were offered for attendance and geo-tagged posts. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Following the government’s pre-meditated murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi in October 2018 , the arrest of women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul in May 2018, the outing of a gay Saudi journalist and his partner who began receiving death threats from their families (homosexuality is a crime in Saudi Arabia and punishable by death), and countless other human rights abuses, a bevy of supermodels, influencers, celebrities, and musicians convened in Riyadh for the inaugural @mdlbeast . According to @hypebeast , the electronic music festival is “one of the most significant musical events the region has ever seen”. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Saudi Arabia has been spending billions to change its image in the west, but this is sure to be the most expensive campaign yet. In a series of Instagram stories posted by transgender model @teddy_quinlivan , it was revealed that fellow model @emrata had turned down the trip, evidently aware of the country’s human rights crisis. “It is very important to me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, freedom of expression and the right to a free press. I hope coming forward on this brings more attention to the injustices happening there”, said Ratajkowski in a statement to Diet Prada. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Unfortunately, not all shared the same sentiments. There are simply too many attendees to name. Dieters, feel free to tag any attendees you know of... just in case they haven’t been reading the news. • #propoganda #jamalkashoggi #humanrights #humanrightsabuse #lgbtq #lgbtqrights #freespeech #journalism #independent #womensrights #mdlbeast #edm #electronicmusic #supermodel #influencer #content #riyadh #emrata #emilyratajkowski #teddyquinlivan #model #celebrity #dj #electronicmusic #musicfestival #wtf #smh #government #corruption #dietprada

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Quinlivan “responded to the haters,” who began to troll her after she spoke out via a gorgeous nude, topless photo on Instagram. “I’ve been called a slut and a whore more times in the last 24 hours by Saudi Arabian trolls and bots than I have in my entire life,” she wrote. “They must’ve thought I’d find that insulting lol.”

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