You know something has to be wrong with you when a handful of celebs don’t want publicity associated with your name. That’s the case with Lev Leviev, the Israeli billionaire denounced by Oxfam America in January for his unethical diamond mining practices and settlement construction. Famous Hollywood photographer Timothy White gives thanks to Leviev in his new book, Hollywood Pinups, released today; Leviev’s diamonds are being featured in the book. In an ironic twist, the book names Oxfam America as one of the recipients of its proceeds–and Oxfam isn’t happy.
Neither are the celebs featured in the book. The PR company that represents Tea Leoni, Kate Walsh, Felicity Huffman, Mary-Kate Olsen, and Melissa George has asked for their names to not be associated with the Leviev, and Oxfam Ambassador Kristin Davis has had her photo removed from Leviev’s website. New York rights coalition Adalah-NY has contacted others and asked them to renounce the company as well, including Susan Sarandon (who wrote the book’s introduction), Vanessa Williams, Kate Hudson, Molly Sims, and Gina Gershon.
An Oxfam America spokesperson, Adrienne Smith, said, “Oxfam reiterates our policy that we are not and never will be partners or beneficiaries of Leviev because of both his mining practices and his support of Israeli settlements on Occupied Palestinian Lands which is in contravention of International Law and a major obstacle in the road to peace… Oxfam is disturbed to find ourselves used in this way and we intend to be proactive in informing those in our community about the deliberate strategy of Leviev Diamonds to connect itself with unwitting charities and celebrities.”
What do you think? Did Leviev redeem himself at all by trying to work with Oxfam? Or is everyone right to continue denouncing this corruption?