The musician Sting once wrote a letter to the Voice condemning the great Hasil Adkins as “inept,” as compared to his own Olympian musicianship, so we are always happy to find his reputation damaged.
The insufferable Tantric crooner has been criticized for accepting somewhere between $1 million and $3 million to play a show in Uzbekistan financed by the daughter of its mad dictator, Islam Karimov.
The rule of Karimov, as a U.N. report shows, is distinguished by torture (When a detainee “raised the torture allegations in court, the judge is said to have stated, ‘You were not beaten enough — you should have your hands cut off’ “), mass murder, accusations of boiling people alive, and general totalitarian psychopathology.
Sting, who has worked extensively with Amnesty International, responded to criticism in a statement acknowledging “the Uzbek president’s appalling reputation in the field of human rights as well as the environment,” but saying he had “come to believe that cultural boycotts are not only pointless gestures, they are counter-productive, where proscribed states are further robbed of the open commerce of ideas and art and as a result become even more closed, paranoid and insular.”
Tickets for the Uzbek concert were scalped for as much as $2500, or nearly four years’ wages for the average Uzbek.
Sting claimed that the concert was sponsored by UNICEF, which UNICEF denies.