Hilary Swank Dropped by Publicists Over Chechnya Fallout

The agency reportedly was uncomfortable with Swank's implication that she wasn't to blame for the gaffe

Saturday, Nov 5, 2011  |  Updated 4:00 PM CDT
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Oscar Fashion Faux Pas of the Past

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Hilary Swank wished Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov a happy birthday at his birthday party Oct. 5. Kadyrov is widely accused of numerous human rights abuses.

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The kerfuffle over Hilary Swank's embarrassing paid appearance at an alleged human rights abuser's birthday party just won't die.

The Hollywood star has been dropped by her publicists at 42 West, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

After catching flak for her appearance at a fete for the Chechnyan president, widely accused of human rights abuses, the outspoken liberal Oscar-winner publicly apologized and promised to donate her fee for the event to a human rights charity. Then, last week, she fired her long-time manager Jason Weinberg and two representatives at talent agency CAA over the incident, too.

That move didn't sit well with Swank's publicity people at 42 West, who reportedly were displeased with what they called her failure to take responsibility for the Chechnya gaffe herself.

Swank came under fire from groups like Human Rights Foundation for her paid Oct. 5 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."

According to the Hollywood Reporter's source, Swank had thought the event was in honor of a large development project in the Chechnyan capital of Grozny, and when she learned otherwise, she still was unfamiliar with Kadyrov's reputation.

However, before the event, Swank's now-fired manager Weinberg had emailed a human rights group to say his client wasn't appearing, suggesting that Swank may have been aware of human rights concerns.

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 Hollywood Reporter, NBC, Entertainment Weekly

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