Hilary Swank in Chechnya

HRF condemns actress Hilary Swank’s paid appearance at the birthday party of Ramzan Kadyrov, the president of Chechnya infamous for torture, extrajudicial killings, and other human rights abuses under his regime.

Kadyrov celebrated his 35th birthday in Grozny, to which he invited several high profile celebrities, including actors Hilary Swank, Kevin Costner, Eva Mendes, violinist Vanessa-Mae, and Colombian singer Shakira.

Before the event, HRF sent a letter to the invited celebrities describing the president’s track record and asking them to reconsider their participation in light of the human rights abuses.

Shakira chose not to perform at the party. HRF confirmed that Costner and Mendes declined the invitation and Vanessa-Mae did not respond to repeated phone calls and e-mails. However, Swank attended and publically wished the president a happy birthday. She reportedly earned $500,000 for her participation. She was joined by Vanessa-Mae and Seal, who also allegedly received $500,000 each, as well as Jean-Claude Van Damme, who received $1 million.

Hilary Swank in Chechnya
Head of the Republic of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov and Hilary Swank

A selection of commentary is available here: 

"Hilary Swank, Jean-Claude Van Damme Slammed for Attending Birthday of Chechen Leader"
The Hollywood Reporter 

"Van Damme, Swank Blasted for Attending Chechen Leader's Bash"
Reuters 

"Hilary Swank Under Fire for Attending Ramzan Kadyrov's Party in Chechnya"
The Guardian 

"Hilary Swank 'Deeply Regrets' Attending Chechen Gala”
LA Times 

“Hilary Swank Donating Fees From Chechen Leader's Birthday Party to Charity”
The Hollywood Reporter 

"Swank to Give her Chechen Fee to Charity;  The Million Dollar Baby Actress Now Says She Regrets Attending a Warlord's Birthday Party"
The Independent 

"Hilary Swank Sacks Manager and Staff Following Ramzan Kadyrov PR Disaster"
The Guardian 

"Hilary Swank's Party Scandal Makes Publicists Fire Her"
International Business Times 

"Chechen Separatist Leader Urges Actress To Prove Charitable Donation"
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty