Oh, Justin Bieber, what are you doing? What, what, what are you doing? Maybe you meant well, but surely someone, somewhere around you would have pointed out that the guestbook at the Anne Frank House might be a bad place to speculate as to whether or not the Holocaust victim would have been a “belieber.” In wake of the PR superstorm, it’s being reported that Bieber and his representatives are not going to be addressing the issue. At the moment that seems to be a smart move. After all, when confronting some nasty backlash, the last thing you want to do is draw attention to it by making a statement or posting a song about it…
Before the Belieber-blow up, a pair of celebs were also making headlines for a foreign trip. Earlier this month, singer Beyonce and her husband, rapper Jay-Z, took a trip to mark their 5th wedding anniversary. Traditionally, the 5th wedding anniversary is marked with gifts that are either wood or wood-inspired. However, in this particular instance, the gift the couple received was a public outcry over possible embargo violations.
Since the 1960s, the United States has imposed an embargo against Cuba. A part of that embargo are restrictions on tourism-related travel. In recent years, there has been a bit of loosening of the restrictions on travel which allow Americans to get licenses to travel to Cuba for academic, religious, journalistic, or cultural exchange trips. Unless the Treasury Department issues you a license for one of those reasons, you are in violation of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (31 CFR Part 515 for all you admin law lovers out there) and can face penalties, which are rather hefty.
Various politicians, with Florida Senator Marco Rubio being the most vocal, are demanding more information about the trip. Citing the couple’s friendship with the Obamas, many wonder who authorized the trip. Last week, the Treasury Department confirmed that it had issued the couple of license for a “people-to-people” exchange trip. End of story, right? Wrong. Jay-Z released a rap entitled “Open Letter” in which he mentions having White House clearance for the trip. With new parties jumping in with freestyles, it doesn’t appear this story will be dying down soon.