Selective outrage’s latest target is Beyoncé’s performance in Dubai

Michael Arceneaux
Published in
4 min readJan 24

If Beyoncé can’t perform in regions where anti-gay laws run rampant, her next tour will be extremely limited.

Photo: @Beyoncé/Twitter

I normally take no issue with people questioning who public figures accept money from, but in the case of Beyoncé’s recent performance in Dubai, the criticism sounds sanctimonious, and for lack of better phrase, mighty white.

Beyoncé was paid a reported $35 million to serve as the headline act at the launch party for the Atlantis The Royal in Dubai, which has been billed the most luxurious hotel in the world.

From what I’ve heard about the hotel — it costs $285,000 for a suite and guests are offered a chance to meditate with dolphins while enjoying complimentary gold-plated toothbrushes, combs and razors — it sounds like the vacation only obnoxious wealth can buy. I can see why people might be offended by such a display of excess — notably because these structures have been largely built on the backs of workers many have argued have been grossly exploited. And as a gay man who doesn’t want to be imprisoned and ultimately stoned to death over sodomy, I relate to those who look at everyone’s photos, reels, and TikToks of themselves in Dubai and think, “Not sure that’s safe for me, sis, but good for you.”

But as far as the notion of Beyoncé being a “sellout” for performing in the country in general, I find the selective moralizing to be typical but no less insufferable.

Bev Jackson, the co-founder of the LGB Alliance, explained to The Daily Mail that because Beyoncé is a “huge icon,” for gay people, she is “deeply disappointed” in her decision to give a “lucrative concert in Dubai where same-sex acts are a criminal offense.”

And for some reason, the paper also quoted Keith McNally, the owner of the restaurant Balthazar, saying that he would give the star a “table next to the kitchen’ the next time that she dined at his restaurant” over her choice to perform there.

He’s not the owner of Pappadeaux or Gracias Madre, so I’m sure she’ll be fine.

Meanwhile, others, like RuPaul’s Drag Race star Kitty Scott-Claus, have also criticized her, tweeting: “Hi I have a question.. can someone explain why everyone was canceling David Beckham…

Michael Arceneaux
Writer for

New York Times bestselling author of “I Can’t Date Jesus” and “I Don’t Want To Die Poor.”