Hilary Swank regrets attending party celebrating controversial Chechen leader


Image Credit: Musa Sadulayev/AP Images

Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank apologized for attending a birthday party for Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader suspected of terror and murder in the southern Russian republic. Human Rights Watch criticized Swank, as well as Jean Claude Van Damme and British violinist Vanessa Mae, for lending their celebrity to the event in Grozny on Oct. 5. “If I had a full understanding of what this event was apparently intended to be, I would never have gone,” Swank said. For her complete statement, click below:

On Wednesday, October 5, Hilary Swank attended the opening of a new residential and commercial complex in Grozny City, including the largest sports complex in southern Russia. There were various guests from all over the world in attendance at that event, including Chechnya’s president. Ms. Swank decided to attend the opening because the construction project was described to her as a symbol of hope for the people of Chechnya, a region that had been devastated by war. Specifically, she was advised that the project was instrumental in the creation of jobs and other opportunities for the people of Chechnya. 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. When she arrived at the event, its organizers requested that she wish the President a happy birthday, which happened to coincide with the opening. Not wanting to be rude, she obliged. She was unaware, at the time, of the allegations against President Kadyrov that have been made by various human rights groups. She had never met Kadyrov before that evening, and has no personal or professional ties to him.

Ms. Swank commented, “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. If I had a full understanding of what this event was apparently intended to be, I would never have gone.”


Comments (26 total) Add your comment
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  • Boof

    I’m sick and tired of these celebritied doing something and then apologizing for it because a multitude of morons didn’t like it. I’d be more impressed if they just said “too bad, too sad, get over it”.

  • frankl

    of course she is sorry, sorry she got called on it. Celbrities see a check and they come running. Read what you sign, idiots!

  • Nate

    I feel terrible about this, but my first thought went to Bridget Jones trying to pronounce Chechnya and then asking Daniel what he thinks of the situation there, only to receive the response “I couldn’t give a f***, Jones. ” But, on that note, I think that Swank could have given a f*** to know something about Chechnya’s human rights situation before attending, but good on her for speaking out on it now.

    • Kelsey

      LOL@ the Bridget Jones thing. Me too.

  • Topanga

    OH PLEASE! Who would believe this woman and her lame, pathetic excuses now that she’s been called out on this. What a surprise she “regrets” attending,

  • Kendis

    Sure…smh. It’s all about the money. Many celebrities were informed not to attend and she decided to attend. I saw NBC’s TODAY show this morning (they did a segment this morning on Miss. Swank).

  • Pete

    Why do we hold celebrities to a higher standard than the government? The US supports many regimes that perpetuate Human Rights abuses (Saudi Arabia,etc). So where is the outrage over that?

  • Did she give back the $$$ she was paid to be there?

    Or, at least give the $$$ to charity.

  • Chris

    I don’t believe her explanation one bit. She took the cheque and ran with it. Hillary Swank has complained before about how she’s got Oscars but is still broke – I remember reading an interview after she won her first Oscar and she said that 6 months later, she couldn’t afford health insurance.

    I have no doubt that a huge check was waved in front of her, and she figured that no one would probably notice she was there, so why not do it. Let’s not forget, she grew up in a trailer park, and has been poor all of her life. If you’ve ever been in those circumstances you don’t just turn down that kind of money for the heck of it.

    Much like those performers who have since “apologized” for taking $1million to perform for Gadaffi, Hillary’s only “regret” is that the public found out that she went.

  • Ames

    Are celebrities incapable of assessing their actions beforehand?

  • Val

    She never specifically says on whether or not she is going to return the money she was paid to attend the
    event. Her manager was contacted by a human rights organization about Chechnya’s human rights record before the event. I don’t buy this explanation at all.

  • give the money to charity

    Of course she regrets it AFTER receiving her massive pay check!

  • Jason

    Does she need the money so badly? I am really disappointed in her since I enjoyed her as an actress in Boy’s Don’t Cry, Million Dollar Baby, and Conviction. In this day and age, feigning ignorance is no longer an acceptable reason. She never heard of Google? On top of that, her manager was contacted by human rights group, as stated above. He/She must need the money so desperately too. Anything for a buck, I guess. Shame on Swank.

  • meme

    i cannot believe this skank has two oscars and meryl streep only has one. and she’s an idiot.

  • Belle

    @ meme. Meryl has two. One for Supporting Actress in Kramer versus Kramer and the second for Best Actress in Sophie’s Choice. Unfortunately yes, the celebrities see a quick very easy paycheck and do not think of the consequences. Always do your homework on the event you are attending.

  • meme

    @Belle. Swank has 2 lead actress Oscars and Meryl has only one.

    • Jem

      Who cares. An Oscar is an Oscar and they both have two. So sick of people saying this about Streep.

      • Belle

        Thank you Jem!! Jack Nicholson has 3 Oscars and one of them is in Supporting. Do you think that takes away his accomplishments?

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