In case you somehow missed it, there was quite a star-studded event in Dubai over the weekend as celebs turned out in droves for the opening of a new hotel, Atlantis The Royal.
Beyoncé was reportedly paid $24 million for flying in for a private set at the launch, and Kendall Jenner was also in attendance as her 818 brand of tequila was partnering with the hotel for the event.
Liam Payne and Ellen Pompeo were among the guests who were thrilled to witness Beyoncé’s first live performance since 2018, where she was even joined on stage by her 11-year-old daughter Blue Ivy.
Rebel Wilson and her fashion designer friend Ramona Agruma also made the exclusive guest list and it looked like they had a blast.
Rebel shared a video montage from her and Ramona’s weekend on her social media page on Sunday, where she also spoke highly about the new hotel.
In the clips, the two women can be seen exploring the grounds before hugging and holding hands while jumping up and down while performing for Beyoncé.
“Atlantis The Royal is BEYOND! What a weekend with BEY! @atlantistheroyal,” Rebel captioned the post.
But soon Rebel’s followers were calling her out in the comments – accusing the star of being a hypocrite and saying that she and Ramona should be “shamed” of supporting a country where membership of the LGBTQ+ community is still a thing punishable crime is by death.
Rebel came out as gay in June when she shared a photo of herself and Ramona alongside the caption: “I thought I was looking for a Disney prince… but maybe all this time I really needed a Disney princess.”
And many felt the celebrity couple’s endorsement of Atlantis The Royal was an example of their “privilege,” pointing out that members of Rebel’s own community would be at risk if they traveled there.
“Oh rebel. You know Dubai has the death penalty for being gay?? Supporting such a country is really, really bad form, especially as a member of this community 🤯,” commented one of her followers.
“Aren’t you a member of the LGBTQ+ community? The hypocrisy of it all,” wrote another. Another reiterated, “Advertising a hotel in a country where it’s illegal to be gay is an interesting choice for a gay woman like you, Rebel.”
“Oh, the privilege. What about other LGBT people?” someone else asked. Another added: “You do realize they’re against you, right? Do it better.”
“Um, they’re killing our kind over there. Why are you promoting this?” another LGBT+ person wrote. Another commented: “You two are genuinely ashamed. Others get locked up or worse. Your privilege shows.”
“A nice free trip to a place where you can’t be gay,” agreed one reviewer. “I had friends who were gay in Dubai, they needed to be given a two-bedroom apartment just in case the authorities came knocking on their door.”
Ramona also promoted the hotel when she posted photos from the trip to her own Instagram page, writing: “The new must-visit destination! The grand opening of the fabulous @atlantistheroyal”
Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates where same-sex sexual activity carries the death penalty under Sharia law.
There are several recorded incidents of Dubai taking criminal action against members of the LGBTQ+ community, with the city’s Court of Appeal finding a lesbian couple guilty of kissing on a public beach in 2008.
They were sentenced to a month in prison for “indecent acts” and the two women, who were tourists, were deported after serving their prison terms.
In 2013, two transgender women from Brazil called police at a Dubai nightclub after suffering prejudice from the venue’s security forces. Police eventually arrested the women for “opposite sex impersonation” and they were held in jail while facing criminal charges. They were fined $2722.50 and deported.
Three years later, Canadian YouTuber and model Gigi Gorgeous, a transgender woman, was held at Dubai International Airport for five hours and her passport confiscated.
And in 2017, a Briton faced three years in prison after laying his hand on another man in a bar to avoid “knocking and spilling drinks”. He was arrested on public indecency charges for touching the other man’s hip, but the charges were eventually dropped when Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum intervened.
Rebel has not publicly acknowledged the backlash her Dubai trip has sparked, and BuzzFeed News has reached out to her rep for comment.
Rebel and Ramona’s controversial escape comes just two months after Rebel announced the birth of their first child, born through a surrogate mother.
The star shared a photo of newborn Royce Lillian in November with the caption, “I can’t even describe the love I have for her, she’s a beautiful miracle! I am forever grateful to everyone involved (you know who you are) and this has taken years…but I wanted to especially thank my beautiful surrogate for carrying and giving birth with such grace and care. Thank you for helping me raise my own family, it’s an amazing gift. The best present!!”
Royce can be seen in some of Rebel’s posts from Dubai, her face covered by emojis.