PHOTOS: Out Director Roland Emmerich Throws Star-Studded Benefit for Pussy Riot

At a dinner party held in their honor, members of Pussy Riot shared stories of their two-year incarceration in Russia after taking a stand for LGBT rights and human rights in general.

BY Jase Peeples

April 08 2014 6:00 AM ET


Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Roland Emmerich, and Maria Alyokhina

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were welcomed to Los Angeles Sunday by out filmmaker Roland Emmerich, who threw a star-studded benefit dinner for the LGBT and human rights advocates.

The two members of the feminist punk-protest group made headlines around the world after they were arrested March 3, 2012, for performing a portion of their song “Punk Prayer” in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior Church. The song criticized Russian president Vladimir Putin and the country's intolerance of LGBT rights and freedom of speech. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and spent nearly two years in prison for their protest. While imprisoned, they were both routinely beaten and humiliated by prison guards and witnessed the inhumane treatment of other prisoners as well. Now Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina have dedicated themselves to campaigning for prisoners' rights in Russia and other countries by telling their story.

Emmerich celebrated the women's bravery and their campaign for global justice and the rights of prisoners with a dinner party in their honor at Acabar, the West Hollywood restaurant owned by the filmmaker. “I think that Pussy Riot stands for people who say, ‘enough is enough’ and I don’t know where they get their courage, but I admire them so much,” says Emmerich. “They are real heroes and they need support.”

Several of Hollywood’s finest were in attendance at the gala event, including Jim Carrey, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Maher, and Chris Colfer.

“I’m honored to be here,” Colfer said. “I feel like it’s so rare that we get invitations in L.A. to events that support something that carries this much weight and global importance. I’m honestly star-struck by [Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina] because I know I wouldn’t have the courage to do what they’ve done.”

“We are in your debt,” Maher told the Russian human rights activists during the dinner. “You demonstrate a kind of courage I don’t think the rest of us really have and we can only look on with awe.”

“Right now we two feel a lot of responsibility,” Tolokonnikova said of those who are imprisoned for taking a stand against injustice. “Because, after all, freedom is responsibility. So we are working to support the cause of other prisoners who are in Russian prisons right now and we hope that with your help the fate of those people [will improve] and they will be freed faster.”

Take a look at photos from the event on the following pages, courtesy of photographer Eric Charbonneau.

Tags: Politics

AddThis

READER COMMENTS ()

Quantcast