Hilary Swank opened up about the controversy she faced in October for attending a concert held in Chechnya in honor of the 35th birthday of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov on October 5.
Kadyrov is accused of several of various human rights violations including torture, abductions and killings by the group Human Rights Watch, who also criticized Swank for appearing at the event. Action star Jean-Claude Van Damme and singer Seal also attended the ceremony.
"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," Swank told Jay Leno about what she learned from the controversy. The actress appeared on "The Tonight Show" on December 2 to promote her upcoming film "New Years Eve." Check out the interview below.
The two-time Academy Award-winning actress said she donated all the money she received from making an appearance at the event.
"I donated all the money," she said during her interview. "There's always a silver lining on things and I've learned a lot about the incredible things that people are now doing, like I said, with Human Rights Watch, I'm working closely with them."
Swank also said she's now "working really closely" with the Human Rights Watch organization.
Shortly after the she attended the event, Swank said she was unaware of the violations by Kadyrov. "I deeply regret attending this event," Swank said in a statement on October 13. "If I had a full understanding of what this event was apparently intended to be, I would never have gone."
Following media scrutiny Swank reportedly dropped her manager of eight years, Jason Weinberg, and her longtime CAA agents Amie Yavor and Josh Lieberman, according to Deadline.
Swank's PR team 42West then dropped her as a client, Entertainment Weekly reported on November 3. The publicity firm apparently had a disagreement with Swank over how to handle the fall-out.
Prior to the event, Swank's representatives were reportedly warned about Kadyrov's human rights violations by human rights activists, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The actress' manager reportedly said in an email dated on September 26 that the Oscar-winning actress "has no current plans to attend the party."
Swank won Oscars for her roles in "Boys Don't Cry" and "Million Dollar Baby." Her screen credits also include "Freedom Writers," "P.S. I Love You" and "Amelia." Watch Swank's appearance on "The Tonight Show" below.