The Arab Spring has turned upside-down considerations of who-is-in, who-is-out. Suddenly a whole array of politicians (e.g. Tony Blair, Nicolas Sarkozy) are red-in-the-face over their previous cozy relations with autocratic Arab rulers. That goes for entertainers, too: Beyoncé and Mariah Carey, for example, suddenly are not so proud anymore of exclusive concerts they performed for Muammar Qaddafi’s entourage.
So what do we have here, in bright traffic-cone orange?
Now it’s Hollywood actress Hilary Swank who is embarrassed! OK, this time it is not any Arab ruler, but rather President Ramzah Kadyrov of Chechenya whose 35th birthday party in his capital Grozny Swank attended last week, according to the article on the Swiss site 24 heures to which that @news_suisse tweet links. Oops! Turns out that Kadyrov has long been accused of permitting systematic torture and assassination within his country, in his capacity as the local Russian Federation puppet-ruler.
Well, Ms. Swank definitely is definitely sorry she showed up there now, saying in an issued statement “I profoundly regret having attended this event, which put into question my long-standing and deep engagement for the defense of human rights.”
Just a couple problems, though. For one, even if Ms. Swank could not be bothered to look up President Kadyrov’s record before accepting his invitation, the New York City-based Human Rights Foundation did send her a warning about him beforehand. But she went anyway – and was paid to do so, apparently. So if she’s so sorry, what does she plan to do with that money? HRF spokesperson Sarah Wasserman – and maybe the rest of us – wants to know.
P.S. The famed Belgian martial arts action-movie star was also at that birthday celebration, but hasn’t bothered to issue any declaration. Jean-Claude, it seems, doesn’t give a Van Damme.
UPDATE: Right then, here’s the story with that money she earned in Grozny: