06:35 GMT +314 December 2019
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    Robbie Williams

    Robbie Williams Flashes Undies During Uzbekistan Concert, Sparks Outrage

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    British pop singer Robbie Williams angered many Uzbeks after pointing at his bottom during a concert in the country’s capital, Tashkent, on December 15.

    Williams' concert, which was organized with the help of Alisher Usmanov, an Uzbek-Russian billionaire and co-owner of Arsenal, an English football team, is a rare event for a conservative nation like Uzbekistan. 

    Williams first appeared on stage in a Uzbek-style "khalat," or robe.

    "This is my band," he said at the start of the concert, while pointing to his band members.

    "[And] this is my arse," he said, turning around and lifting up his robe, revealing his underwear.

    "Tonight your arse is mine," he added, evoking a mixture of laughter and shrieks.

    Social media users took to the internet immediately after the concert to criticize Williams' move and, by extension, Western influences in their country in general.

    "We need to filter out Western culture, if you can even call this culture!" user Saiyora Hodjayeva posted online.

    Another user, Mukimjon Halmatov, wrote, "Some people bring in the swine illnesses, some people brings AIDS or even the sickness that is [Daesh]. They now want to infect Uzbekistan with the disease of democracy. Evidently that is what Robbie was brought here for."

    Kamariddin Shaikhov, the editor of Uzbek news website Qalampir.uz, said that his website was filled with angry messages after Williams' concert.

    "It is odd that the singer would come out on stage in a robe while not wearing trousers," Shaikhov wrote in his publication. "He showed lack of respect to our culture by lifting his robe and revealing his rear parts to the people sitting in the audience. What is this, a sign of his education? Is this what you call respect for the Uzbek people?" 

    However, not all Uzbeks were offended by Williams' actions. 

    ​Zarina Ubaidullayeva, a Tashkent resident and a fan of the singer, said that people were overreacting to the performer's actions.

    "It was just a joke. It isn't like he ran around naked on stage. There is no call for judging him so harshly," Ubaidullayeva told EurasiaNet.org.

    "But then there was the other matter of the expensive tickets, which meant that I couldn't afford to go to the concert. Since Usmanov was sponsoring this, then they could have made entry free or at least set symbolic prices," she added.

    Concert tickets ranged from $190 to $225, but average monthly salaries in the country are approximately $125, meaning few could afford the steep price.


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