NEWS > EVERYONE ELSE > SEAL, HILARY SWANK KILL AT BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR CHECHEN DICTATOR
SEAL, HILARY SWANK KILL AT BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR CHECHEN DICTATOR
October 13 2011
Grozny, Chechnya – Just because celebrities are rich and famous doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to do a little extra to earn a buck. Whether its commercials or cameo appearances on TV shows, many celebrities have not been shy about earning a little extra on the side. In recent months, one of those methods, private appearances, has come into question after a series of high profile flubs.
In the summer it came to light that stars such as Beyonce and Usher had performed for the sons of Muammar Gaddafi, banking millions dollar paydays in the process. Now a similar controversy has arisen over another dictator after it was revealed that Seal, Hilary Swank, and Jean-Claude Van Damme appeared at a birthday bash for noted Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov. While hardly as lucrative or high profile as the Gaddafi appearances, the stars have come under similar fire and been forced to issue apologies and return the meagre sums they were paid to appear. That, though, may not be the end of the story as many raise concerns that such high profile incidents may make it impossible to book celebrities for dictators in the future.
“I deeply regret attending this event. If I had a full understanding of what this event was apparently intended to be, I would never have gone,” two-time Academy Award winner Swank said in the face of the controversy. It’s not clear how much she or the other attendees, who have not commented publicly, were paid for their appearances but it is believed to be likely much more than they are getting in their day jobs of late.
Swank, at the party, claimed to have researched Kadyrov’s birthday but apparently glossed over things such as his ‘Murder List’ and multiples sexual assault claims, among other things.
“This is really an unfortunate development for many celebrities, not just these ones. This type of private appearance thing was quite lucrative, especially for people like this who could be gotten cheap. Not such a big deal for the super wealthy, but for mid-range or fallen stars it’s a potent revenue stream but now they are going to have to be more careful,” said Scrape TV International analyst Gustav Hander. “No more money from brutal dictators and warlords because they are going to be exposed and that will hurt their earning potential more than anything. There just aren’t many acting jobs available for people who support mass murder.”
Kadyrov has also been accused of torture, dozens of disappearances of high profile Chechens, and embezzling funds meant for the reconstruction of the region. He has been President of the Russian territory since 2007.
“This is a little different than the Gaddafi family, for sure. Kadyrov may be a murderer and a warlord, he may be corrupt to his core, but this is Russia after all. Some of those things are just lost in translation. I mean he does have the full support of Vladimir Putin so that has to count for something,” continued Hander. “Still, incidents like this really hurt the practice for all celebrities. I know it’s tough for some people to get these kinds of offers but they really do need to do a little research before they accept, even going onto Wikipedia if they can’t afford to hire assistants. It hurts the game for everyone.”
Seal apparently performed Kadyrov’s favourite song, ‘Kiss from a Rose’, at the dictator’s request.
Emil Uliya, International Correspondent