Jennifer Lopez Sorry for Turkmenistan Performance

Singer speaks out after controversy surrounding her serenade of the president of a nation with terrible human rights record

By Sierra Marquina Jun 30, 2013 9:34 PMTags
Jennifer LopezNYC3/ Splash News

Jennifer Lopez is clearing the air after performing for Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow in his home country Saturday night.

Despite the leader's oppressive record of human rights violations, the songstress took the stage to sing "Happy Birthday" to the 56-year-old. And after being criticized by the non-profit Human Rights Foundation for the performance, Lopez is now addressing the controversy surrounding her appearance at the event.

In a statement obtained by E! News from Jennifer's rep, Lopez's performance was said to be part of a concert sponsored by "China National Petroleum Corporation that was presented to their local executives in Turkmenistan. [And]  was not a government sponsored event or political in nature."

The statement further states: "The event was vetted by her representatives, had there been knowledge of human rights issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended."

According to the statement, the "Happy Birthday" serenade came after "the China National Petroleum Corporation made a last minute 'birthday greeting' request prior to Jennifer taking the stage."

J.Lo's performance comes just weeks after she performed at Beyonce's Chime for Change charity concert, which supports projects improving access to education, healthcare and justice for women.

—Reporting by Marc Malkin