NEW YORK, July 1 (UPI) -- Jennifer Lopez's publicist says the U.S. pop star sang to Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow at an event that wasn't "political in nature."
The former "American Idol" judge came under fire for singing "Happy Birthday" to Berdimuhamedow -- who has been accused of human-rights violations -- in Turkmenistan Saturday night.
But E! News quoted Lopez's representative as saying the performance was part of a concert sponsored by China National Petroleum Corp. for its local executives in Turkmenistan and "was not a government sponsored event or political in nature."
"The event was vetted by her representatives, had there been knowledge of human-rights issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended," the publicist said in the statement. "The China National Petroleum Corp. made a last-minute 'birthday greeting' request prior to Jennifer taking the stage."