Justin Bieber performed some of his biggest hits at the Saudi Grand Prix in Jeddah on Sunday, The Associated Press reports, despite calls for him to boycott the show.
Bieber was accompanied on his visit to Saudi Arabia by his wife, supermodel Hailey Bieber, who took to Instagram to praise the pop star on his performance and said "go baby" along with a video of him performing on stage.
Bieber, who has not responded to criticism over his decision to perform in Saudi Arabia, was not the only celebrity to perform at the post Formula One race concert. Jason Derulo took the stage before Bieber along with female back-up dancers who donned baggy sweatpants.
The Hill has reached out to Bieber's label, Def Jam, for comment.
Last month, human rights groups and the fiancee of the Washington Post journalist who was murdered by a Saudi hit squad urged Bieber to cancel his appearance at the F1 concert in Saudi Arabia.
"Cancel your Dec. 5 performance in Saudi Arabia. This is a unique opportunity to send a powerful message to the world that your name and talent will not be used to restore the reputation of a regime that kills its critics,” Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi, wrote in an op-ed published in the newspaper in November.
"It would be disastrous for Justin Bieber, an artist with a vast global following, and who is idolized by millions, to be used as a pawn by [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's] murderous regime," Human Rights Foundation President Céline Assaf-Boustani said.
In October 2018, Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to arrange a marriage license and was killed by a Saudi hit squad.
The Biden administration said earlier this year that a "capture or kill" operation against Khashoggi had been approved by the crown prince.
However, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in February it rejected completely “the negative, false and unacceptable” assessment of a U.S. intelligence report that found Mohammed bin Salman had approved the killing of Khashoggi, Reuters said.
The AP notes that Sunday's concert would have been "an unthinkable scene in Saudi Arabia" just a few years ago. The changes to the country's ultra-conservative laws come amid sweeping changes by the crown prince, who aims to modernize society, attract foreign investment and create jobs for youth.