“This is a beautiful room, it’s a beautiful night here in L.A,” Corden said in his opening remarks. “It’s so beautiful, Harvey Weinstein has already asked tonight up to his hotel to give him a massage.”
The “Late Late Show” host and night’s emcee had the crowd in nervous laughter as he rolled through some bits about recent news headlines, which have cast a dark shadow over one of the biggest names in Hollywood.
“It has been weird this week though, watching Harvey Weinstein in hot water. Ask any of the women who watched him take a bath,” he quipped, along with: “Harvey Weinstein wanted to come tonight, but sadly he’ll settle for whatever potted plant is closest.”
While the jokes might have been considered “too soon” by some, judging by the uncomfortable chuckles in the room, a few stars were open to sharing their views on the carpet about the past week’s sexual harassment claims and women speaking out about the topic.
“I don’t know a single woman, whether she works in Hollywood or in the medical field or in politics or teachers, I don’t know any women who have not in some way shape or form been touched or sexually assaulted in their life,” said Sophia Bush. “I don’t know any, and it’s a f—in’ problem.”
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Victoria Justice added, “I think it’s incredibly brave and admirable that the women that have come forward aren’t afraid to speak out because that’s really the only way that things can change.”
Amid all the water cooler talk, the evening celebrated the change that’s possible when industry notables band together to use their power and influence for good. In this case, that change took the form of advancing medical research to find a cure for HIV and eradicate AIDS.
Chairman of the board Kenneth Cole, Cheyenne Jackson and Tom Hanks also took the stage along with special musical performances by Chris Martin (who sang a duet with Corden) and Fergie. The Coldplay band leader serenaded the night’s honoree Julia Roberts twice with Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” as well as an original tune, titled “When Julia Makes You Smile,” while Fergie performed hits spanning from “Fergalicious” to “Big Girls Don’t Cry” along with a track from her new album, “Double Dutchess.”
The benefit had many dinner guests, like Sean Penn and Jeffrey Katzenberg, wielding their wallets for luxurious excursions around the world as well as rare art pieces. A lunch with Matt Bomer, Roberts, and Ryan Murphy was the hot purchase of the evening, and its value increased even further when Hanks, Corden and Penn volunteered to join the lunch to up the bidding, which eventually boosted the auction item to a $110,000 price tag.
Other appearances included Kate Hudson (sporting a short buzz cut) and mom Goldie Hawn along with Diane Sawyer, Melanie Griffith, Dermot Mulroney, Busy Philipps, Connie Britton as well as supermodels Selita Ebanks and Heidi Klum (who briefly helped the auctioneer pitch a giant pink bunny).
Fergie closed the evening by getting everyone out of their seats to sing along to the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling,” encouraging attendees to donate even more while repeating Ludacris’ famous line in her hit, “Glamorous:” “If you ain’t got no money, take yo’ broke a— home.”
The event was presented by AMTD, Harry Winston, and M•A•C Viva Glam. Cadillac, Moët Hennessy, and PatBO were the event’s signature sponsors.
(Pictured: Goldie Hawn, Diane Sawyer and Melanie Griffith attending cocktails at the AmfAR Gala Los Angeles)