Pop star Ke$ha, a self-professed animal-rights activist, was allegedly detained by the Department of Homeland Security a year ago for attempting to smuggle ivory into the United States, Radar Online reported on Monday. The “Tik Tok” singer, who in 2013 received the Humane Society of the United States’ Wyler Award for raising awareness of animal issues in the media, had an elephant-ivory snuff bottle seized when she returned to Los Angeles from a tour of Japan on August 27, 2012, according to government documents obtained by the gossip website. Radar said that another member of Ke$ha’s team was also detained in a separate incident two days earlier after she was discovered with “possible ivory” in her possession.
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Ke$ha’s move to bring ivory into the country directly contravenes the work of the animal-welfare groups she has publicly supported over the years, many of which have fought for decades to combat wildlife trafficking.
In 2011, Humane Society International named Ke$ha its first-ever Global Ambassador for Animals.
Less than a year before the alleged incident took place, the Humane Society International named the chanteuse its first-ever Global Ambassador for Animals for her “outspoken stance” on animal-protection issues such as street dogs, the trophy hunting of endangered lions, shark-finning, Canada’s commercial seal slaughter, dogfighting, and cruelty-free cosmetics.
Even Ke$ha claimed at the time that the “freedom and primal beauty of animals and the natural world” inspired her music. “I take this opportunity incredibly seriously because we are all animals,” she said in a Humane Society press release. “One of the main underlying sentiments of my music is to respect all living creatures just as they are. I believe that together, we can change laws that allow innocent animals to be unjustly mistreated and abused all over the world.”
Still the Humane Society brands the revelation as nothing more than a misunderstanding. “Ke$ha apparently bought a piece of jewelry at a thrift shop and was unaware it was ivory,” Michelle Cho, vice president of The Humane Society of the United States, told Radar. “It is not uncommon for even the most dedicated animal lover to mistakenly buy ivory when they think it’s another material. Ke$ha, like other animal advocates, assures us she would never knowingly contribute to such a gruesome industry.”