There’s no doubt that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh were on most people’s minds for the past 24 hours or so.
Therefore, it was no surprise that “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” star Mariska Hargitay commented on Ford’s testimony while accepting the champion of hope award for her work with the Joyful Heart Foundation at Thursday night’s 17th annual Samsung Charity Gala in New York City. “I cannot speak tonight without addressing the events of the day,” she said. “I just want to say that I am and have always been deeply moved by courage. And I believe that is what I witnessed today.”
Inspired by her portrayal of Olivia Benson on “L&O: SVU,” the Joyful Heart Foundation was created by Hargitay to help victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. “I am very humbled to accept this award, especially during this time when so many extraordinary women’s voices — so many brave survivors — have brought so much long-awaited and deeply necessary change,” she said.
Hargitay’s husband, Peter Hermann, applauded her dedication. “These are women who are reaching out to a fictional character on TV,” he said. “She plays the s— out of her role. Not just as a character, but as a human with compassion in her response to survivors.”
Last night’s gala raised $3 million for various non-profits supported by Jessica Seinfeld, Kristen Bell, Daymond John, Boomer Esiason, Victor Cruz, Jessie James and Eric Decker, Rob and Marisol Thomas, and more.
Fitz and the Tantrums played a lively opening set before Matthew McConaughey led a Texas-style auction benefiting his charity Just Keep Livin Foundation and IMS.
To push the winning price tag for two tickets to the Mack, Jack & McConaughey gala in Austin, McConaughey egged his wife Camilla Aviles to volunteer her time to the winners.
Asking enthusiastically in front of a laughing crowd, “Camilla, anything else I can throw in there for fun? We can do the hair and make-up thing with you, right? That is not an easy ask, I know. We get about two minutes of privacy in 72 hours of that whole weekend and now you get one! $32k going one time. Going two times. Sold! Thank you.”
More funds were raised through auctions for prizes that included seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda reprise his role of Alexander Hamilton in “Hamilton” in Puerto Rico.
Pitbull lived up to his Mr. Worldwide reputation as he closed out the night performing an array of his hits. He urged the dancing crowd, “Every day you are here above ground, you have to have the time of your life.”