The actress has fired her manager and a pair of publicists after stories about her controversial appearance at the birthday party of Ramzan Kadyrov, the president of Chechnya.
Various news reports say Swank made the dismissals after her appearance with Kadyrov came to light. Swank was one of a handful of celebrities who attended Kadyrov's party, including the singer Seal, the violinist Vanessa Mae, and the martial artist and actor Jean-Claude Van Damme.
The Independent reports that Swank fired her manager, Jason Weinberg, and moved two other people "off her team" after a barrage of negative press about her appearance with Kadyrov. She has also apologized.
YouTube footage of the celebration showed her offering warm applause for the Moscow-backed warlord, who is widely accused of torturing dissidents, killing political opponents, and encouraging citizens to abuse women who dress immodestly.
At one point, Swank strode to the microphone and announced how much she had enjoyed visiting the totalitarian state. "I could feel the spirit of the people, and I could see that everyone was so happy," she said. "Happy birthday, Mr President!"
Part of the problem also seems to be her staff's insistence that she wouldn't be attending the party for Kadyrov, who is accused of a variety of strange things, including "torturing dissidents, killing political opponents, and encouraging citizens to abuse women who dress immodestly," The Independent said.
Swank has stepped on the same figurative mine that has proved the misery of other celebrities. Perhaps the most jarring recent example was the revelation that performers including Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Nelly Furtado had performed — for lavish fees — for the family of Muammar Qaddafi, back before the revolution that overthrew his regime in Libya. Under pressure, the singers gave their millions from appearance fees to charity. Swank has pledged to do the same.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.