Cause: An investigative report alleging that South Sudanese leaders and their families used their positions to amass sprawling fortunes to support luxury lifestyles that would make a Kardashian jealous. The report also condemns (but doesn’t identify) the bankers, real estate agents and lawyers complicit in the alleged profiteering.
Celeb(s): Actor-vist George Clooney, who co-founded the Sentry, a nonprofit that conducted the investigation, along with actor Don Cheadle, who with Clooney and others founded Not on Our Watch, a humanitarian aid organization that helped sponsor the project.
Scene: A briefing at the National Press Club (just a warm-up to meetings later in the day with President Obama, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew), where serious foreign-policy journos sat elbow-to-elbow with shutter-clicking paparazzi. Clooney, 55, and Cheadle, 51 — in matching Serious Dark Suits and solid ties — smoothly walked the media through the findings, then fielded questions. Somber looks throughout, with a tanned Clooney occasionally breaking into a rueful smile as panelists described the lavish lifestyles and alleged corruption of South Sudanese leaders.
Sound bite: “We have the moral obligation and the ability to act, and cannot continue to look away — history is watching,” Clooney said. Cheadle followed with a polite plea to journalists to focus attention on the story, even in a crowded news landscape. “There is a lot of international goodwill, and yet there seems to often not be political … will to act,” he said. “A lot of that is a result of the light being off the issue, and we hope this is something that can take precedence in some of your papers and periodicals.”