Hilary Swank on the Chechan scandal: “Shame on me… I should do better research”

Hilary Swank is still floundering in the midst of the international scandal that resulted when, back in October, she received $1.5 million to attend the birthday party of Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadryov, which included her warm wishes towards “Mr. President” and for which she later expressed deep regrets. In the aftermath, Swank allegedly reacted by firing her manager and many of her agents, and then she was summarily dropped by her PR firm. Yes, Swank has expressed her regrets, but after such an incredible mess, sometimes the best thing for one to do is just drop the matter and hope that people eventually forget that it ever happened.

Part of me wonders why Swank just won’t stop discussing this scandal, but she’s now promoting New Year’s Eve, which arrives in theaters on December 9 and I guess is as good a reason as any for her to continue discussing the faux pas heard around the world. I’ve come to this grand conclusion merely because Hilary apparently doesn’t have much else to discuss during her late-night talk show interview with Jay Leno, as evidenced her great enthusiasm upon discussing her parrot and the eggs that she ordered through the mail. You see, one of these eggs hatched into a chick, which turned into a rooster. Such riveting material, right? After she discusses the Chechen debacle at length, Swank actually imitates the rooster learning to crow, but here’s what she said about the relevant topic:

“I was invited by a Turkish real estate company to go and be a proponent of peace; help celebrate the rebuilding of a war-torn city. It was Grozny city, which is in Chechnya . . . I get offered appearances all the time . . . These people were trying to rebuild their lives too. Just seven years ago it was very war-torn and very dangerous. And I thought, ‘Absolutely, yes. That’s an incredible thing; I love to travel, I love to meet people. This is an exciting opportunity.’

“And then, once there, on the side of the stage, someone said, ‘It’s the president’s birthday; can you wish him a happy birthday?’ . . . I had never heard of him before. In fact, when they said his name, I couldn’t even say it. So I said, ‘I’ll just say Mr. President,’ is what I’m thinking in my head. So, I went out and said, ‘Happy birthday, Mr. President,’ after I said my whole speech about it’s great to be a proponent of peace and you guys are doing incredible things rebuilding this city. And then when I got back, only then was I made aware of who he was . . . Kadryov. Now I can say his name because of I’ve done my research. He’s a bad, bad guy . . . Human rights organizations had reached out to warn me before I went but I did not get those warnings, they weren’t shared with me, and so that went out into the press too, and I had never known, and I thank the Human rights organizations for trying to reach out, and for reaching out, even though I didn’t get it. And the silver lining is that I’m actually working with the Human Rights Watch now.

“[On a question about the backlash] It was all over the world, and shame on me. The bottom line is that I should know where I’m going and I should do better research, and I can definitely guarantee that I won’t go anywhere ever again without doing full research. I donated all the money, and like I said, there’s always a silver lining to things. I’ve learned a lot about the incredible things people are now doing . . . Again, I should know where I’m going . . . I actually didn’t know Chechnya was separate from Russia. Now I know all of that, but I had no idea.”

Oddly enough, Swank still appears to be slightly cloudy on the details, for Chechnya is its own republic even though it technically remains part of the Russian Federation. In addition, it’s interesting that Swank frames her rationale for attending on loving to travel and meet people for a good cause instead of the cool $1.5 million, but at least Swank has now articulated that she’s donated the money to a mysterious cause. Ideally, that cause would be the Human Rights Watch, but she probably would’ve mentioned it if that was the case. Swank still obviously places some blame upon her former manager, but she’s also grovelled quite well by accepting that she should’ve done her research. Mostly, it sounds like she learned her lesson here, and hopefully, that’ll be the end of the discussion. That is, until she decides to imitate a rooster again.

Photos courtesy of Fame and WENN

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32 Responses to “Hilary Swank on the Chechan scandal: “Shame on me… I should do better research””

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  1. David says:

    She took the money and ran.

  2. dorothy says:

    She didn’t care…she saw the $$$ signs and was packed and ready to go.

  3. Elena says:

    Chechnya is not only technically part of Russia, but very really too. The Russian government gives a lot of money to support the region and their people are all over here in Moscow, so Swank is still just a stupid ignorant woman. STFU already

  4. Assistantrachel says:


  5. Bite me says:


  6. Fetch80 says:

    She apologized, I believe her. Where’s the backlash for Seal huh?

  7. spinner says:

    What about the other stars that attended? I don’t hear any one else simpering around about this. She is just taking a negative & attempting to turn it into positive attention. On a side note…she’s a real looker ain’t she? I love the choice of pics.

  8. mmm says:

    her resemblence to Angelina is uncanny! beautiful woman.

    • mln76 says:

      I don’t see any resemblence!!!

      • mmm says:

        now that Angelina has anorexic body and sullen face..It’s difficult to see the resemblence. If she puts on a little weight on her face she’d look just like Hil. Anyway both are fab and accomplished women.

      • mln76 says:

        Hilary may have a ‘healthier’ weight but she’s simply not that pretty and the bottom half of her face is oblong or ‘horsey’ (Can’t find a better word) Meanwhile regardless of weight Angelina is stunning and has a feminine face(when it was fuller that was even more so the case). So no there is no resemblence.

      • waa says:

        Even Angie’s face is oblong. Get over it. And “stunning” is a matter of perspective. Legions of people don’t find Angie stunning at all.

  9. mln76 says:

    I still doubt she actually donated ALL of the money to the charity. And I am sure she’s taking a tax write off. I will never have any respect for her again. But as she’s gotten all the blame and Seal and JLV have gotten off easy it’s time to let it go.
    But I also find ‘New Year’s Eve’ to be an atrocity too!!!

  10. outofafrica says:

    Beautiful my ass.. & they call elisabetta calais a tyranny? I think we just found her twin

  11. Kimbob says:

    Lookit…for Seal, for Van Damme….I’ll be succinct…they are Pieces of Shit, ok? Also, it’s more than obvious that they don’t give a shit about what everyone’s thinking/saying….ESPECIALLY SEAL, because he basically stuck up his middle finger & told everyone what to do w/it w/regards to his visit there. Soooo…for Seal, for Van Damme…no support.

    1st of all, I never listened to Seal crow to his music, so what else can be done or said? Just that if his name comes up, or his music, I’ll say something. Secondly, Van Damme…I think I saw ONE movie of his….a very long time ago….never again. I think the blogger’s comments about Hillary, and their “silence” about Van Damme & Seal is (I hope) they probably feel the same as I do…& they haven’t brought them up because “it’s a given.” This is what I’m thinking. After all, Seal or Van Damme aren’t going all over the place discussing this “faux paux!” After all, they both are hoping the public has a short memory. Well, some of us DO NOT! To those that mentioned them in their blogs….thank you! Guess what? I won’t forget either!

    As for Hillary….my take? Damn LIAR!
    1)She did not NAME the organization she allegedly “donated back” the $$$ to…so guess what….she didn’t give the $$$ back! If she’d wanted us (the public) to VERIFY THIS, she would have told Jay, or put it out there somewhere THE NAME of the organization(s). So, screw her…she’s a LIAR!
    2)She’s “campaigning” for forgiveness…guess what Hillary, you HAVE TO put your money where your mouth is…and YOU HAVEN’T…so guess what…no forgiveness from ME, because you’ve INSULTED ME by saying your sorry, then topping it w/a BIG FAT LIE…STFU and GO AWAY!

    If Hillary WOULD HAVE NAMED the alleged organization she “gave back” the money to….she’d have my forgiveness. Don’t piss on me and tell me it’s raining.

  12. rogue says:

    I have a problem with the fact that these celebrities are so desperate for a quik buck that they are willing to actually take a paycheck to wish somebody a happy birthday.Somebody they don’t know.

  13. Girl says:

    $1.5 million just for making a speech? Didn’t these people think the money could be better spent in said war-torn region? Wouldn’t a free trip there plus reasonable accommodations sound like it was more on the up and up? I know it isn’t unheard of to get appearance fees but that amount of money seems pretty excessive and from where I sit, a little suspect especially with what she knows now.

  14. Zelda says:

    She didn’t know Chechnya was seperate from Russia, but presumably she knew that the President she was celebrating was NOT the President of Russia, right?

    “Doing research”? How about “reading something on the internet besides your own Google alerts”? Seriously. One news site, once a week, Hilary.

    Also, until she names the charity, I call bullsh*t.

  15. Tazina says:

    She’s a liar and a bad one at that. Her attempt at damage control by doing the talk show circuit is pathetic. Anyone can see through it. I noticed her playing the dumb routine on Leno and how quickly she brushed off any info as to who she gave the money to. She was greedy; she got caught and now she’s backpeddling to save her film career.

  16. ruby says:

    Well I like her, I think she’s one of the competent actresses out there.

    I accept her apology, she sounds sincere to me. Yes she could have handled it better, but unlike Seal and Van Damme, she cares enough to keep talking about it and apologizing. Hopefully she’s learnt her lesson.

    And I don’t find parrots and eggs etc. boring. I thought it was interesting. Better than all those actresses talking about beauty products and beauty tips all the time. What’s wrong with talking about animals ? It’s less superficial.

  17. serena says:

    She thinks she can fool everyone with a nice speech and a ‘shame on me’. Whatever Hilary, I don’t care anymore about you.

  18. lucy2 says:

    The whole thing was a really, really stupid move by her and the others who attended, but at least she is owning up to it. Of course she’s trying to salvage her career and reputation too, but at least she’s accepting the blame. Though I agree that more specifics about where the money went would be beneficial.

    I’m just still amazed anyone would pay her that much to show up.

  19. whatevs says:

    liar liar pants on fire i’m sure when she was approached she said “what is a chechen leader? get my assistant to do research on him” and come on she could even google it herself but she wanted the money anyway she is a vile disgusting human being not only because she is hypocritical but also cause she keeps lying and takes everybody for fools

  20. Jover says:

    Sad but truthful – scrape off the pr and she’s just another greedy celeb. Three minutes on the internet could’ve given her the background info – and this idiot thinks we the unwashed should listen to her political ramblings Right!

    • Zelda says:

      What fascinates me is just HOW disinterested she must be.
      If someone were paying me 1.5mil to show up anywhere, my curiosity as a human being would have me doing at least a cursory google search. She is so disinterested in others that she couldn’t even be bothered to see for herself who wanted to give her that much money?
      The self-absorption necessary for that thinking boggles the mind. Amazing.

  21. olcranky says:

    funny, she bragged about how she did her research when she was on stage. . .

    • C.Lynn says:

      Thank you for mentioning this! This is what keeps bothering me. In the video footage from the event, Hilary wishes the president a happy birthday and the guy asks her how she knew it was his birthday and she said “I do my research”. So in the video she claims she did know beforehand that this event was for the president’s birthday party and she knew it from her own research.

      So she was lying then or she’s lying now.

      Her apology is meaningless to me because there are holes in her story like this.

      Also she’s still not taking any real responsibility. These so-called apologies of hers are filled with a “look at me, I’m a great person” vibe. “I’m a wonderful person, mislead by others, and I went there because of my love for people and traveling and humanity.” She sure is tooting her own horn a lot in this “apology”.

      She doesn’t admit to the financial motivation for going or for her claim at the event that she knew that this was a birthday party for the president from the start, and knew it from her own research.

      How is this an apology when she’s still not taking responsibility for what she really did and why she did it?

      If she had come clean at the beginning and said “What I did was wrong. I let an appearance fee cloud my judgement. This was a mistake in judgement that I accept full responsibility for. I have donated the fee to this NAMED charity. I am working with human rights organizations to educate myself so I can assure you this will never happen again” … then yes I would have said apology accepted.

      Everyone screws up, it’s how a person handles their mistakes that is their true judge of character. The fact that she went is bad enough, but Hilary’s true narcissism is revealed by her inability to admit what she actually did wrong and why. How can she claim that she has learned from her mistakes when she still can’t admit what her mistake really was? She let a financial motivation cloud her judgement. A large appearance fee encouraged her to look the other way. That was her mistake.

      As for Seal, two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because Seal is a piece of crap too, doesn’t get Hilary off the hook. Both of them are narcissistic jerks, and criticism of one does not mean acceptance of the other. They both suck.

  22. tripmom says:

    In all fairness, I’m willing to bet that she’s not the one repeatedly bringing the issue up. I’m sure interviewers just keep asking her about it because, really, if you were interviewing her, what else would you talk about?

  23. samira677 says:

    I don’t believe that she didn’t know. Even before attending it was in the news. I would think family and friends would call and say something. Hilary probably thought it wouldn’t be a big deal. It seems kind of pathetic and wrong that she did a paid appearance. Usually c and d-listers do this. Although she’s not a big name, she still won 2 Oscars.

  24. Victoria says:

    Seal this, seal that. Seal said he didn’t give a fuck and he was honest about it. God at least he was honest. I give him way more credit for just straight up doing what every celebrity does and IN OUR OWN BACK YARD FOR OUR OWN MURDEROUS government and saying, “Yeah I did it.” But I guess that’s okay when it benefits us right? I’m not trying to hear shit about Seal or Jean Claude or anyone else since the majority of hollywood is guilty if cashing in on these types of events world wide. We just gave Libya back to a bunch of extremists so we can have another reason take yet another piece of that rich African cake.

    Am supporting SEAL forever not just because I like his music but now that I know hypocrites are trying to bring a brotha down, I gots to make sure I get the word out about supporting him even more. GTFOH/

    Hillary should just shut up about it. She apologized and people who are going to judge her will do so anyway. And they should because she tried to cover that shit up. So it’s whatever.