Clooneys give $1.4m to fight hate groups

The donation comes from the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which the couple (left) established last year.
The donation comes from the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which the couple (above) established last year.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Actor George Clooney and his humanitarian lawyer wife, Amal Clooney, have donated US$1 million (S$1.4 million) to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, an American non-profit that monitors extremists and domestic hate groups, in the wake of deadly violence following a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

An Aug 12 rally in the town, organised by neo-Nazis and other white supremacists, led to counterprotests and the death of a woman when a car plowed into the crowd. The street battles triggered a political crisis for United States President Donald Trump, who praised "very fine people" on both sides of the fight.

"What happened in Charlottesville, and what is happening in communities across our country, demands our collective engagement to stand up to hate," the Clooneys said in a joint statement.

The donation comes from the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which the couple established last year to promote justice in classrooms and courtrooms around the world.

Southern Poverty Law Centre president Richard Cohen thanked the Clooneys for "standing with us at this critical moment in our country's fight against hate".

Since the violence in Charlottesville, the Anti-Defamation League - one of the oldest anti-discrimination organisations fighting anti-Semitism in the US - has also seen its donations spike sharply.

Mr James Murdoch, chief executive of 21st Century Fox, recently condemned Mr Trump's performance after the violence in Charlottesville and announced that he was giving US$1 million to that group.

Donations like that one, as well as those from corporations such as Apple, Uber and MGM Resorts, yielded a rise of "1,000 per cent" last week, according to a Anti-Defamation League spokesman, compared with the weekly average donations since the beginning of the year.

Another organisation combatting racism and anti-Semitism, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre, has also recorded major donations. One came from actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2017, with the headline 'Clooneys give $1.4m to fight hate groups'. Print Edition | Subscribe