Last month, actress Hillary Swank attended a 35th birthday celebration for Ramzan Kadyrov in Chechnya, despite warnings from activists to her representatives about the controversial leader's sordid human rights record; she was was paid a six-figure sum.
A Swank insider conceded that human rights groups contacted the actress' reps prior to the Oct. 5 event: "They asked if she had plans to attend a birthday party. (The reps) said, 'Absolutely not -- this is a real estate event for the new Grozny city.'"
The insider said Swank's representatives went back to Turkish organizers of the event, who confirmed it was a grand opening for rebuilt buildings. They apparently didn't brief Swank on the background of the region's political leaders, however.
"Then when she gets to Grozny, the event organizers were there and they asked her if she would mind wishing the president of Chechyna a happy birthday," the individual said. "She was like a deer in the headlights. She had no idea how bad a guy this was."
Swank's birthday wishes to Kadyrov were caught on camera, circulated globally on YouTube, leading to widespread criticism of the Oscar-winning actress along with singer Seal and former action movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme, who were also at the event.
On Sunday, Swank had fired her manager of eight years, Jason Weinberg, along with two members of her CAA team, Amie Yavor and Josh Lieberman. Swank's boyfriend Jason Campisi is a CAA agent, so it is believed that she will stay with the firm.