What do you think about attending a controversial event in Chechnya?
A spokeswoman for the two-time Oscar winner said on Friday that Swank would give her personal appearance fees to various charitable organisations.
Swank has said she “deeply regrets” taking part in a birthday celebration in the Chechen capital Grozny last week for regional strong Ramzan Kadyrov, who is accused of orchestrating human rights violations.
Human Rights Watch urged Swank and other celebrities who attended the event to return any money or gifts.
Swank said this week she was unaware of Kadyrov’s policies, which human rights group say promote fear, abductions and executions of those involved in Chechnya’s Islamist insurgency.
Swank joined Belgian martial arts actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, British violinist Vanessa Mae, and British singer Seal in flying in to Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, to help Mr Kadyrov mark his 35th birthday earlier this month.
An official from Chechnya’s culture ministry disclosed that all four were paid to attend, with local media reporting that Vanessa Mae picked up a fee equivalent to about £320,000 for her own performance.
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has since called on the stars not to keep any cash or gifts, insisting that their doing so “trivialises the suffering of countless victims.” The group said Mr Kadyrov, the Kremlin’s enforcer in the once war-riven region, and his militia were implicated in abductions, torture and executions as well as house burning.
So far Hilary Swank is the only one of the four stars to have shown any contrition. She is best known for her roles in Million Dollar Baby and Boys Don’t Cry.
For his part, Seal remains defiant. When criticised on Twitter for his behaviour, he responded: “I am a musician and would appreciate (it) if you leave me out of your politics.” HRW says the issue is a question of morality.
Source: The Telegraph