“Million Dollar Baby” will give money earned from controversial appearance to charity
Hilary Swank is putting her money where her mouth is in the controversy over her appearance at alleged Chechen despot Ramzan Kadyrov's 35th birthday party.
Swank, who earlier Thursday apologized for attending the soiree, is putting her ill-gotten gains from the bash to good use, a representative for the actress tells TheWrap.
"She is donating her personal appearance fees from this event to various charitable organizations," the spokesperson tells TheWrap.
The news comes after watchdog group the Human Rights Foundation demanded that the "Million Dollar Baby" star donate any money she received from the appearance to charity.
"After five days of wall-to-wall criticism, [Swank's apology] is weak, especially since the Human Rights Foundation sent a warning directly to Swank through her manager on Sept. 26," Human Rights Foundation's Sarah Wasserman said in a statement provided to TheWrap. "Her claim of ignorance is laughable. Worse, the video of her birthday wishes shows her boasting about her knowledge of Chechnya and how she 'reads' and 'does her research.' The more important question now is, what is Swank going to do with the blood money paid from Kadyrov's coffers? She sidesteps the issue completely."
It's not known how much Swank was paid to attend the soiree. But Jean-Claude Van Damme, who was also in attendance for the Oct. 5 party in Chechen capital Grozny City, reportedly received $1 million for his appearance. Singers Seal and Vanessa-Mae, who performed at the bash, allegedly received $500,000 each for their services.
At the event, Swank publicly wished Kadyrov a happy birthday.
Swank issued her apology Friday, saying, "I deeply regret attending this event, which has thrown into question my long and deeply-held commitment to the protection of human rights. I would never intentionally do anything that raised doubts about such commitment. I will continue to donate my time and my financial resources not only to the charities with which I am currently affiliated, but also those dedicated to the preservation of human rights.”
According to Swank's spokesperson, the actress wasn't aware of Kadyrov's alleged role in executions, torture and disappearances in Chechnya prior to attending the event.
The spokesperson claims that Swank attended the event, which occurred simultaneously with the opening of a new commercial and residential complex, because she'd heard that the construction project had been beneficial to the war-ravaged nation.
"Specifically, she was advised that the project was instrumental in the creation of jobs and other opportunities for the people of Chechnya," the spokesperson said. "Ms. Swank very much wanted to attend to be a proponent of those things and, most importantly, she wanted be an advocate for peace in Chechnya."
Those words ring hollow for the Human Rights Foundation, which says that it attempted to brief the actress on Kadyrov's reported atrocities before the event, but was told by her manager that she had no current plans to attend the event.