Nellie Andreeva

Hilary Swank tonight kicked off her image-rehabilitating campaign after a disastrous paid appearance at tyrannical Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov’s birthday party with a visit to The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. The backlash from the October 5 appearance in Grozny led to Swank firing her manager and most of her agents. The fallout also included her PR firm 42West reportedly dropping her over disagreement how the aftermath of her embarrassing stint should be handled, so it’s unclear who booked her appearance on Leno tonight. In it, Swank tried to repair some of the damage by claiming ignorance. She ultimately took responsibly for her blunder but left some blame for her representatives too. “Human rights organizations had reached out to warn me before I went, but I did not get those warnings, they weren’t shared with me,” she said in a subtle jab at her reps. “The bottom line is I should know where I’m going and should do better research.” Watch Swank’s account of the events in the video clip below. Curiously, the clip stops just before the end of the conversation, which, in typical Leno fashion, didn’t include a single tough question. In the left-out part, after talking about how little she knew about Chechnya and its government before the incident and how much she has learned since, Swank said, “I actually didn’t know that Chechnya was separate from Russia.” The statement is somewhat puzzling because, while being its own republic, Chechnya is still a member of the Russian Federation.

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