Hilary Swank Fires Staff for Flap Over Chechnya Event: Report

The Oscar-winning actress has reportedly canned her manager

By Sam Schulz
|  Sunday, Oct 30, 2011  |  Updated 4:24 PM CDT
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Hilary Swank sang at Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov's birthday party.

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Hilary Swank has made another stab at damage control and reportedly fired her manager, weeks after she caught flak from human rights groups for speaking at the Chechen president's birthday party.

The British newspaper The Independent reported Sunday that the Oscar-winning actress and outspoken liberal fired Jason Weinberg, her manager of eight years, last week. According to the paper, she might also stop working with two of her representatives at her talent agency, CAA.

Swank faced an embarassing gaffe earlier this month when she came under fire from groups like Human Rights Foundation for her paid appearance at a birthday party in Chechnya for 35-year-old President Ramzan Kadyrov.

At the event, which she earned six figures for attending, Swank spoke warmly of Kadyrov, who has been widely accused of human rights abuses like the torture of dissidents and the promotion of honor killings. She said at the fete that she could feel the "spirit of the people" of Chechnya and could tell that "everyone was so happy."

Swank said afterward that she had been unaware of the allegations against the Kremlin-backed ruler, apologized for her appearance and pledged to donate her appearance's fee to human rights groups.

Despite the reported firing of Weinberg, it remains unclear how her appearance at the autocrat's party was planned.

According to The Independent, just before it occurred, Weinberg had emailed that organization to say his client had "no current plans to attend" because, according to a source fot the paper, he was unaware of any.

Swank wasn't the only celebrity paid to appear at the party. Action star Jean-Claude Van Damme and pop singer Seal also showed up at the event but didn't publicly apologize as did Swank.

Selected Reading: The Independent, NBC New York

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