I think this argument is sort of silly.
Lots of press wondering how America’s friendship with many of these dictators will pan out over the long run with the local populace.
Let’s say you had a mean, alcoholic brother-in-law. You despised him, but your sister married him and lived with him and had kids. So you make peace, you might even give/lend him some money for a down payment on a house. You even invite him over on Thanksgiving and bite your tongue.
Later, when your sister finally wakes up and dumps that asshole, are you now the bad guy?
Should the family hate you for enabling the BIL?
I don’t think anyone in Washington “loved” any of these dictators, but after 10, 20, 30 or 40 years or more in power, it would be kind of silly to still ignore them. You can’t go into every country with a despot and start a war for democracy - we have learned that the hard way.
So you try to make peace, as best you can.
Later, when there is an uprising and they dump the idiot, you help those who need it to get back on their feet as soon as possible.
So, getting back to the celebrities - they were just doing their job; performing.
They didn’t stand up with fists raised, supporting some wild ass dictator - they simply performed their music.
For all we know, they might have donated some of that money to the local populace.