October 11th, 2011
05:07 PM ET
Celebrities admitted to being paid to perform for members of Moammar Gadhafi's family this spring, and according to the Hollywood Reporter, history may be repeating itself.
Human Rights Watch is criticizing stars including Jean-Claude Van Damme and Hilary Swank for allegedly attending Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s lavish October 5 birthday celebration in exchange for money.
“We must remember the disgrace Mariah Carey, Nelly Furtado, Beyoncé and 50 Cent were exposed to after singing for the Gadhafi family and earning millions of dollars for it,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of the Human Rights Foundation. (Beyoncé and Mariah Carey donated their Gadhafi money to charity.)
In a statement to THR, Human Rights Watch asked stars who went to Kadyrov’s 35th birthday party to return any money that they were paid to attend.
"Ramzan Kadyrov is linked to a litany of horrific human rights abuses. It's inappropriate for stars to get paid to party with him,” reads the statement. The Human Rights Foundation claims they warned Swank not to attend the event, and that the actress initially said she had declined the invitation.
Halvorssen called the stars’ attendance at Kadyrov’s party “disheartening and shameful.”
Shakira, Eva Mendes and Kevin Costner were also invited, but R.S.V.P.’d “no.” Costner and Mendes cited scheduling conflicts.
According to the Human Rights Foundation, Van Damme stood on stage and proclaimed, “I love you Mr. Kadyrov.” Swank reportedly wished Kadyrov a “Happy Birthday” and said she was honored to be in the city of Grozny.
The gathering was held on a floating stage on the River Sunzha and featured fireworks, numerous portraits of Kadyrov, acrobatic performances and music from British violinist Vanessa-Mae (who was reportedly paid half a million dollars).
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