Leonardo DiCaprio has backed out of a pricey fundraiser lunch for Hillary Clinton that the actor had been scheduled to host at his Los Angeles home this week. Pop star Justin Timberlake and his wife Jessica Biel will instead host the event at their home.
The Oscar-winning Revenant actor was forced to bow out of the $33,400 per-plate event because he is “stuck in New York until Wednesday” finishing a current project, a source close to the event told People on Saturday.
But the timing of DiCaprio’s cancellation comes as the actor’s environmental-focused charitable organization, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, was linked to a $3 billion Malaysian embezzlement scheme in news reports last week. The foundation — which focuses on climate change initiatives and hosts a glitzy annual party for hundreds of A-list celebrities and dignitaries — is alleged to have received donations tied to money misappropriated from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund that had been earmarked for development in the country.
Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin told the Hollywood Reporter that the implication that DiCaprio bowed out due to his foundation’s alleged connection to the Malaysian embezzlement scandal is “completely false.”
“If we could have had the event at his home, we would have loved to,” he told THR. “He was gracious enough to find us a new host. We hope to do something with him in the future.”
DiCaprio is not currently filming any projects as an actor. The 41-year-old Oscar-winner is producing climate change documentary The Turning Point, set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9.
The “Conversation with Hillary” event will continue as scheduled Tuesday afternoon at Timberlake’s home. Event co-hosts are said to include Jennifer Aniston, Tobey Maguire, Shonda Rhimes, ICM chief Chris Silbermann and Justin Bieber manager Scooter Braun.
While in Los Angeles, Clinton is also set to attend a dinner fundraiser at the Beverly Hills home of billionaire entertainment mogul and Democratic Party mega-donor Haim Saban.
The guest list for the August 22 event reportedly includes Disney CEO Bob Iger, outgoing DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, L.A. Olympics bid chief Casey Wasserman and MarketShare CEO Jon Vein.
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