ANTIBES, France (AP) – Stars including Jason Derulo, Michelle Rodriguez and Pierce Brosnan attended a luxurious French Riviera AIDS fundraising gala Thursday and said they were focused on the charity, not one of its former benefactors, disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
This year’s amfAR Cinema Against AIDS gala was the first one held since Weinstein’s downfall late last year. Weinstein was fired from his company and faces criminal investigations in several cities after dozens of women accused him various degrees of sexual harassment and abuse. He has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
“This organization is far bigger than any scandal so I don’t think anybody is worried about that tonight,” Derulo said. “Everyone is here to continue to have an impact on the world. We just want to get rid of this disease that we’ve been dealing with for so long.”
“It’s a brand new day now and this terrible disease in our society we have to find a cure for it,” Brosnan said. “So I think justice has been taken care of in regards to the scandal, past, done, dusted, move on.”
“It’s a distant memory in the past,” Michelle Rodriguez said of Weinstein. “I think it’s so distant that I barely remember it.”
She said anyone who stopped supporting the group because of its past association with Weinstein was missing the opportunity to help others. “Come on, bigger fish to fry, we’re trying to cure AIDS here,” she said.
This year’s event, which was held at the exclusive Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. It featured a celebrity auction and performances by Grace Jones, Sting and Shaggy and Ellie Goulding.
The amfAR gala attracts top stars each year in the area for the nearby Cannes Film Festival, where Weinstein was also a mainstay. Last year’s event raised more than $20 million (17.8 million euros) to combat the disease globally.
“Game of Thrones” actress Nathalie Emmanuel said she felt encouraged by movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up, which gained massive support after the Weinstein scandal.
“Change is definitely happening, people are talking which is the first step and speaking and talking about things that are wrong and should never happen. And I feel like those conversations are now being put to action and we’re not going to see repetition of the past I hope.”
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