George Clooney shines a spotlight on defenders of justice at the inaugural Albie Awards

George and Amal Clooney shined a light on Defenders of Justice on Thursday night at the inaugural Albie Awards ceremony in New York City.

“Growing up, all my life, I felt like governments often let us down,” George told reporters outside the New York Public Library. “We all have to be diligent and fight for it – and that’s why we’re here tonight – because we have people who risk their lives to do that, and risk their freedom voluntarily, which a lot of people don’t.” ‘t.

The married couple formed the Albie Awards to honor people who, at great personal risk, have dedicated their lives to justice. Many celebrity guests have walked the red carpet, including Oscar Isaac, Dua Lipa, John Oliver, Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Ethan Hawke and Meryl Streep.

Speaking on the red carpet, Alfre Woodward dismissed the idea that actors shouldn’t speak out on humanitarian issues.

“Are we supposed to pretend we’re stupid?” We’re not in the friggin’ Westminster Puppy Show,” Woodard said Variety. “Shame on anyone who’s a thoughtful person who believes there’s a place they shouldn’t be. I’m not buying it. It says we’re not human beings. It says we don’t care and don’t feel for the people we’re telling stories about.

The awards ceremony is named after Justice Albie Sachs, who was a key campaigner to end apartheid in South Africa. Dr. Eric Esrailian, board member of the Clooney Justice Foundation, said Variety that the organization hopes that “Albie Sachs is starting to be a name that people are starting to think of in terms of what he has done for human rights around the world”.

Sachs received a lifetime achievement award, while Filipino journalist Maria Ressa received the Justice for Journalists award. The event was sponsored by Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, Microsoft and Giorgio Armani, among others. Esrailian said the foundation is rightly picky about its fundraising methods.

“Amal and George were very particular about not wanting to fundraise for potential organizations that might contribute to human rights abuses around the world,” Esrailian said. “I respect the fact that this is the first time in my life that someone has said to me, ‘No thanks. We don’t need that person’s money.

He continued, “Most organizations and most individuals are afraid to take on [different] types of problems due to the fact that it may affect their personal affairs. Amal and George aren’t affected by this – and neither is the organization.

“CBS Mornings” anchor Gayle King credited the Clooneys for putting reporters in the spotlight.

“Can you think of a better way to get attention than having the two together saying, ‘Hey, people are watching this – that’s wrong? “, King said on the mat. “It’s more than the lawyer and the A-list celebrity. They both said their parents were journalists. They have reporters in the family and they want to smooth things over – and they’re doing that tonight.

George told reporters that he and Amal “collaborate on everything” – including raising their 5-year-old twins, Alexander and Ella. He then credited his wife as well as the winners of the evening.

“It’s exciting because Amal has brought journalists out of Egypt, Azerbaijan, prisons, all over the world, Myanmar – it’s something she’s really particularly good at,” George said. “And my father is a journalist. I have a great affinity for them — his mother is a journalist. So it’s really exciting for me when she’s able to get people out who are wrongfully accused of doing their jobs. [of confinement]. So, for me, it’s just – I couldn’t be prouder of my wife.”

As for the teachings George hopes to pass on to his children, he said, “Well, you teach them not to mix the grain and the grapes, don’t you? Because that’s the first thing you need to learn. Never do that. No, there are tons of things, but the first thing is [to] challenge people in power and defend people without power.

Robert M. Larson