Which would be a bigger scandal for the entertainment industry? An A-list performer who takes big bucks to deliver a private-party performance for a regime that supports terrorism, or for a man who just got done busting his wife’s nose on Christmas Day? Rachel Sklar at Mediaite first reported on Beyoncé Knowles’ decision to take as much as $2 million to provide entertainment for Hannibal Gaddafi’s New Year’s Eve party, which was later confirmed by multiple media outlets:
On Sunday, Mediaite reported that singer Beyoncé Knowles had given a private New Year’s Eve performance for an exclusive crowd in St. Barth — and made the case that she had performed and been paid by relatives of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi (variously known as Khadafy, Qaddafi, Quadhafi and more). Atlanta-based blogger Necole Bitchie reported a $2 million fee; the UK Mirror reported a “six-figure sum” and yesterday Media Takeout made the same claim, repeating the $2 million number and confirming the Gaddafi-hosted party from a guest who was there (hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons also placed Beyoncé at a “Khadafy party.” Today Page Six confirms our original report, with one new piece of information: the party was thrown by Moutassim Gaddafi, known as Hannibal, son of the Libyan dictator who less than a week before made headlines for allegedly attacking his wife in a London hotel.
Page Six notes — as we did! — that Beyoncé’s sang five songs for a crowd that included her husband Jay-Z, Microsoft founder Paul Allen, Lindsay Lohan and Usher (who also did the New Year’s countdown); Jon Bon Jovi, Simmons, supermodels Miranda Kerr and Victoria Slivstedt and BET founder Bob Johnson. Page Six could not confirm the rumored $2 million sum cited elsewher, but did note (again as we did) Mariah Carey’s reported $1-million payday for the same gig last year.
Last year’s party, it should be noted, was thrown by Hannibal’s brother Saif Gaddafi, who this year was reportedly in New Zealand [see update II]. Page Six has a lovely rundown of Hannibal’s seemingly frequent bouts of violence and reckless behavior. Odds are Beyoncé probably didn’t see his halo.
The US now recognizes Libya, but we have an arms-length relationship with the dictator, and for good reason. Nothing made that clearer than the machinations involving the release of the Lockerbie bomber, whom Gaddafi’s son Saif greeted as a returning hero. The Gaddafis have long supported terrorism in the region, but have been wiser than to conduct it against the US after Lockerbie and especially after the capture of Saddam Hussein.
For the entertainment set, the bigger scandal will be the less-political issue of domestic violence. Less than a week after sending his wife to the hospital, Hannibal Gaddafi got serenaded by a major figure in American entertainment, and all he had to do was open his wallet. Will Beyoncé have to answer for that — or will it just be considered business as usual?
Update: The first comment says it best, by Lorien1973: “It’d be a bigger scandal if she went to Palin’s party.”
Update II: Mediaite posted a correction on their reporting about Saif Gaddafi and last year’s party:
****Update, Jan. 5, 2010: The reports and unconfirmed rumors in the post below have since been updated in this confirmed, updated report on Beyoncé’s performance. Earlier reports which suggested that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, one of the sons of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, had hosted the event were incorrect — according to the New York Post, this year’s party was hosted by his brother Hannibal Gaddafi. As noted below, Saif Gaddafi was in New Zealand over New Year’s. Reports cited below saying he hosted last year’s party, where Mariah Carey performed, were also incorrect; New York Daily News columnists Rush & Molloy subsequently reported that Saif Gaddafi was in Asia at the time of the event, and that the party was actually hosted by his brother, Moatessem-Billah Khadafy, which is not the brother who hosted this year’s event. The full, confirmed, updated version of this story may be found here; the rest of this post (below) has been left as it was published on Jan. 3, 2010 to keep the record intact.