Over the weekend, Scott Disick, Sofia Richie, Ryan Phillippe, Armie Hammer, Irina Shayk and others flew to Saudi Arabia for MDL Beast, described as "a three day festival bringing together the best in electronic music, performing arts and culinary craft—just outside of Riyadh."
"Made it to Saudi! Can't wait for tonight @mdlbeast," Richie captioned pics of herself posing inside The Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh. "Last night @mdlbeast festival. Thanks Saudi for a great trip, now home for the holidays," Disick said of a shot of him at the event.
But their social media posts on the festival prompted the wrong kind of buzz online. Many users called out the country's human rights record, and questioned why they would support MDL.
Instagram account Diet Prada slammed them for allegedly accepting money to promote the event, and, as it claimed, "to rehabilitate the image of Saudi Arabia."
It also highlighted complaints from social media users at the festival who complained about sexual harassment.
"Thank you @diet_prada for calling this out. I was Jamal Khashoggi's editor at Washington Post," Karen Attiah commented on the account's MDL Beast-focused post. Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul last year.
"Jamal believed in social media to be used for good. It's shameful that many of Saudi Arabia's own influencers and activists have been jailed under Mohammed bin Salman. Thank you for using this platform to call out the shamelessness. I'm disgusted."
In a note, Emily Ratajkowski spoke out as well, saying she opted to not attend because of the country's record. I have always wanted to visit Saudi Arabia, but when a recent opportunity came to me involving making and promoting an appearance there, I had to decline. 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."