Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank will be donating money she was paid to attend a lavish party thrown by the president of Chechnya, the man accused of committing crimes against humanity including torture, a representative for the star said today.
Swank's representative did not say how much Swank was paid to attend the Oct. 5 event, but told ABC News the actress will be donating "her personal appearance fees from this event to various charitable organizations."
Swank said in a statement to The Associated Press Thursday she "deeply" regretted attending the event in the first place.
"If I had a full understanding of what this event was apparently intended to be, I would never have gone," she said, according to the AP. The Hollywood Reporter first reported Swank's decision to donate her fee to charity.
The party, which featured speeches by Swank and action movie legend Jean-Claude Van Damme, was publicly said to be the annual celebration of the Chechen capital city of Grozny, but just happened to coincide this year with the thirty-fifth birthday of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.
Kadyrov, appointed president of the Chechen republic in February 2007 by Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been the target of rights groups for years for allegedly directing intimidation, torture and murder of Chechen rebels and opposition figures in a brutal campaign to suppress the violent insurgency in Chechnya. One rebel, who was later murdered in Vienna, Austria, claimed that he had witnessed Kadyrov torturing suspected insurgents and was personally subjected electric shock at Kadyrov's hands.
Swank was seen smiling at other performances as she sat in the audience for the party in a report by Euronews.
"Really, truly, for me this was a great honor to learn more about you and your country and what you're building," Swank said when she took the stage. "And happy birthday, Mr. President."
Ahead of the event, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) addressed a letter to Swank and several other celebrities who were reportedly invited, urging them not to attend.
"Chechnya continues to constitute a situation where serious violations of human rights are continuously committed by the Chechen authorities... Mr. Kadyrov's policy promotes the state of constant fear among the population and political opponents," the letter says. "Attending such an event on invitation of Mr. Kadyrov would disregard the seriousness of the situation with regards to his authoritarian ruling and the violation of fundamental human rights in the Chechen Republic. Therefore, we urge you not to attend the aforementioned event."
Swank is not the first celebrity to backpedal after partying with questionable characters. Usher, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Nelly Furtado each donated cash they were paid for attending or performing at celebrations thrown by Mutassim Gadhafi, son of ousted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Representatives for Jean Claude Van Damme -- who said during his speech that he "loved" President Kadyrov -- did not return requests for comment on this report.