At Thursday night’s fundraiser for the charity at Milk Studios in Hollywood, neither honoree mentioned the Republican presidential candidate by name, but it was clear whom they were talking about.
“The world has changed for the better, real progress has been made,” Katzenberg said during his acceptance speech early in the evening. “But day after day we are subjected to a demagogue who wants to take us back to those dark days. But we know these kinds of people. No one knows how to defeat demagogues better than the people in this room.”
IAC chief Barry Diller, who mentored Katzenberg in his early years, presented the award.
“He sits on 20 boards, only he doesn’t really sit in any of them,” Diller said. “He drives them.”
Theron, who was presented her award by Chelsea Handler (“get your fat ass up here girl”), received a standing ovation from the crowd. “Unfortunately from this election we see when it comes to ending intolerance and bigotry, we have a long way to go,” Theron said.
Theron, who has her own charity, the Charlize Theron AIDS Outreach Project, added more should be done to focus on those who are hard to reach. “We need big bold investments and big bold ideas to fight poverty and discrimination.”
But she is also optimistic, she said. “The next generation can be GenEndIt,” referring to a global call to end AIDS, “but only if we give them the support and resources. We are closer than ever before to a cure.”
To that end the evening included an auction with a Banksy painting and a Haas brothers’ wallpaper print, trips to Peru’s Rainbow Mountain with Johan Ernst Nilson, holidays in the Maldives and Givenchy, France. The Peru trip brought a brisk to and fro between two tables till they both agreed to pay $60,000 each so neither was left dissatisfied. Other items included a Gerhard Richter piece and Harry Winston earrings, plus a chance to an intimate concert with Madonna. The event raised over $2 million by night’s end.
Guests including Jon Hamm, Heidi Klum, Courtney Love, and Rich Ross were treated to Cheyenne Jackson and Jane Lynch dueting on “A Whole New World” from “Aladdin” and Jason Derulo singing and dancing to a number of his songs including “Talk Dirty to Me.”
Belvedere offered a bespoke bottle of vodka to those who donated $500. Sponsors of the evening included Harry Winston, MAC Viva Glam, Moet Hennessy, Cadillac, Milk and Delta.