Clooneys donate $1m to combat hate groups
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Clooneys donate $1m to combat hate groups

Celebrity couple says deadly violence at white supremacist rally 'demands our collective engagement to stand up to hate'

US actor George Clooney (R) and his wife Amal Clooney at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, May 16, 2016. (LOIC VENANCE / AFP)
US actor George Clooney (R) and his wife Amal Clooney at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, May 16, 2016. (LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

NEW YORK — In the wake of deadly violence following a white supremacist rally, George and Amal Clooney have donated $1 million to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights advocacy organization that monitors hate groups.

The pair, which made the donation via their Clooney Foundation for Justice, join a number of others giving funds in recent weeks to anti-discrimination organizations, which have seen a surge in donations since clashes between white supremacists and anti-racism protestors amid a demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia left one dead.

“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 statement announcing the grant. “We are proud to support the Southern Poverty Law Center in its efforts to prevent violent extremism in the United States.”

The unrest in Charlottesville at the rally called by neo-Nazi and other far-right extremists saw one woman killed after an avowed white supremacist plowed a car into a group of counter-protesters.

 White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" exchange insults with counter-protesters as they attempt to guard the entrance to Emancipation Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)
White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the “alt-right” exchange insults with counter-protesters as they attempt to guard the entrance to Emancipation Park during the “Unite the Right” rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)

US President Donald Trump faced fierce criticism following his comments that “both sides” were to blame for the violence that highlighted racial tensions in a nation on edge.

“Like George and Amal Clooney, we were shocked by the size, ugliness, and ferocity of the white supremacist gathering in Charlottesville,” said SPLC President Richard Cohen. “It was a reflection of just how much Trump’s incendiary campaign and presidency has energized the radical right.”

Since the violence in Charlottesville the Anti-Defamation League — one of the oldest anti-discrimination organizations fighting anti-Semitism in the United States — has seen its donations spike sharply.

James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox, recently announced he was giving $1 million to that group.

Donations like that one, as well as those from corporations like Apple, Uber and MGM Resorts yielded a rise of “1,000%” last week, according to ADL spokeswoman Betsaida Alcantara, compared to the weekly average donations since the beginning of the year.

J.P. Morgan also joined the ranks of the donors, announcing a million-dollar gift to be shared by the ADL and the SPLC, according to US media.

Another organization combating racism and anti-Semitism, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, has also recorded major donations since then. One came from actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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