Yesterday we took a look at Hilary Swank‘s big, ugly Chechen payday in 2011 – and her inability afterwards to take responsibility for her own actions.
Here’s more. After the story broke of her nauseating performance for Putin-backed warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, a “source close to the affair” told the Independent that “Hilary values her liberal credentials and is close to Michelle Obama. She’s really upset by what happened.” Break that down: for Swank, it wasn’t about principles but about image, about “credentials”; she wasn’t upset by what she’d done but by how it looked afterwards – and how it might affect her career and her connections.
Her conduct after her return to Hollywood, in short, was as shabby and irresponsible as was her original acceptance of Kadyrov’s invitation. Her publicists at a firm called 42 West, feeling that she was trying to shift some of the blame for her actions to them, actually dropped her as a client – a rare event indeed for a star of her magnitude.
Four months after the debacle, the Independent reported that no charities had yet “come forward to publicly acknowledge receipt of Swank’s promised financial donation.” Human-rights groups were “starting to wonder what, exactly, has become of” all the dough she’d collected from Kadyrov, and exiled Chechen official Akhmed Zakaev penned an open letter to Swank demanding that information. “We really expect, when someone apologises, and promises publicly to do something, and says they will try to fix a big mistake, to be able to see that it actually happens,” wrote Zakaev, reasonably enough. “Hilary Swank said that she would transfer the money. But after four months, nobody knows if she has kept her word.”
A spokesperson for Swank refused to answer Zakaev’s question, saying that “Hilary has been working directly and privately with various human rights organisations and other charities, giving both her time and financial resources. At the request of such organisations, and consistent with Hilary’s longstanding practice of donating anonymously, she will not be publicly acknowledging her contributions and efforts.” Under the circumstances, this statement was, to say the least, outrageously tone-deaf.
The one good thing that can be said about Swank’s conduct during this episode is that by apologizing, she at least came out smelling a little better than her fellow sellouts. Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vanessa Mae, and Seal, all of whom also appeared at the Kadyrov event, refused to apologize at all; Seal, for his part, tweeted defiantly: “I played music for the Chechen people. I’m a musician and would appreciate if you leave me out of your politics.” (He added, bemusingly: “You sit there under the umbrella of democracy and never once stop to think how it keeps you dry.”)
Four years later, Hilary Swank has yet to disclose what she did with Kadyrov’s money.