New East Digital Archive

Robbie Williams sparks uproar in Uzbekistan by flashing underwear onstage

19 December 2017

British pop star Robbie Williams has sparked scandal in Uzbekistan after revealing his underwear to concert-goers in Tashkent.

Williams, who arrived on stage wearing a traditional Uzbek robe, pulled back his clothes and announced: “This is my arse… tonight, your arse is mine.”

The pop star performed in the Uzbek capital on 15 December as part of a special performance organised by Uzbek-born Russian billionaire Alisher Uzmanov. His welcoming gesture was met with cheers from the crowd, who had paid between $190 to $225 to get their hands on tickets.

Yet the joke prompted outrage from many in Uzbekistan’s largely conservative society, with many taking to social media to complain about Williams’ “lack of respect”.

Kamariddin Shaikhov, the editor of Uzbek news outlet, said that his site had been inundated with angry messages after the 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?”

The show was Williams’ first in Central Asia, despite his large fan base across the former Soviet Union.