George Clooney and wife Amal Clooney opened their wallets to fight hate. With the support of the Hollywood power couple, The Clooney Foundation for Justice announced Tuesday a $1 million donation to the Southern Poverty Law Center to increase the organization’s capacity to combat hate groups.
Details on the initiative will be announced at a later date, but the SPLC stated the move is a direct response to the violence that erupted at the white nationalist rally on Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia that left one protestor dead.
“We are proud to support the Southern Poverty Law Center in its efforts to prevent violent extremism in the United States. 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 SPLC currently tracks more than 1,600 extremist hate groups operating in the U.S. Through litigation, the non-profit won court judgments against 10 white supremacist organizations and 50 individuals who led them or participated in violent acts.
In added comments referencing President Donald Trump’s controversial response to the events in Charlottesville (via Deadline), the Clooneys said, “Amal and I wanted to add our voice (and financial assistance) to the ongoing fight for equality. There are no two sides to bigotry and hate.”
In his initial response to the Charlottesville white nationalist riots, Trump said “both sides” were to blame. Two days later, he denounced neo-Nazis and white supremacists responsible for the unrest — but then later went back to claiming “both sides” were at fault. Since then, similar rallies popped up in Boston and Berlin, where thousands of counter protestors came out to oppose the demonstrations.
“Like George and Amal Clooney, we were shocked by the size, ugliness, and ferocity of the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville,” SPLC President Richard Cohen said. “It was a reflection of just how much Trump’s incendiary campaign and presidency has energized the radical right. We are deeply grateful to the Clooney Foundation for standing with us at this critical moment in our country’s fight against hate.”