Demi Lovato Got Called Out For Buying Egyptian “Artifacts” That Are Probably Fake

March 9, 2022 / Posted by:

This week, Demi Lovato decided to take to their Instagram Stories to show off all the Egyptian “artifacts” they bought. And you know those artifacts are extremely authentic since Demi showed off their certificates of authenticity. Only, those certificates look like they were made in Microsoft Word. Not even Photoshop. And if Demi wasn’t already practically bald, they’d be bald from experts snatching them up over buying some fake ass shit that probably has as much value as souvenirs bought at the Luxor Las Vegas gift shop.

Erin Thompson, an art crime professor at the City University of New York, saw Demi’s “artifacts” haul on Instagram and went in on Demi on Twitter, calling those trinkets “extremely bad fake Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern antiquities.” Erin points out that if Demi’s artifacts were actually real, that would mean that Demi bought illegal antiquities that were likely looted from Egypt, Iraq, Syria, or other countries. Erin dragged Demi’s buys, saying that “these are not so much “cuneiform tablets” as “pre-gnawed dog biscuits.”

Erin dropped the snark for a second (I’m fine with the snark, personally) to say: “Anyway, here’s why I, a scholar of the looting and smuggling of cultural heritage, am asking everyone including apparently Demi Lovato not to participate in [the] destruction of the past,” and sharing a link to a NY Daily News article explaining why people should not be buying ancient antiquities even if they are real.

Dr. Peter Campbell, an archaeologist and lecturer, is currently teaching an International Heritage Crime course and so he had a lot to say about this on Twitter. Here’s some of what he said:

International markets have seen an influx of looted artifacts from Iraq and Syria following the US invasion and Daesh – artifacts like cuneiform tables. Following the Arab Spring, widespread looting in Egypt led to an influx of Egyptian artifacts onto the market. Generally, any post-1970 trafficking of cultural heritage is illegal- the date of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. BUT its earlier for nations like Egypt w/protective laws.

This generally requires any artifacts being sold to have a pre-1970 provenance… 1869(!) for Egypt. Anyone buying antiquities should therefore conduct due diligence before they purchase an object- you don’t want to buy something that has been looted recently, or a fake. Due diligence with an object’s provenance consists of its ownership history (did it enter the market before the cut off date), origin/findspot, description of the object (does the ownership papers match the object in front of you, or could it have been switched), etc.

Which brings me to the paperwork accompanying Demi’s purchases- I have never seen provenance like this. None of the critical information is included. Were these exported in 1869 or last year? Where are the copies of the export permits? Who owned them previously?

This paperwork does not look like any provenance paperwork I have seen before and lacks all the critical data. I would advise any buyer to conduct due diligence before purchasing ancient objects, something that this paperwork does not fulfil on its own. I don’t know the online store that they bought these objects from, but the paperwork shown (so perhaps not all the paperwork) does not meet the due diligence standards advised for most buyers. Without a full ownership history they could be stolen recently, or be fakes.

It looks like Demi Lovato is no Indiana Jones! I think this further throws into question just how qualified Demi is to be hunting extraterrestrials. If Demi can’t tell when a hunk of clay was Art Attack-ed into an “ancient tablet” how are they gonna tell when a light in the sky is an interplanetary spaceship or a McDonald’s drone doing an UberEats drop-off?

Pic: Instagram

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