Clooney Calls On Hollywood To Cast Spotlight On Disaster Victims

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August 30, 2010 | 4:10am EST

George Clooney called on Hollywood to cast its spotlight on the desperate needs of disaster victims as he accepted a special Emmy Award on Sunday night.
The Hollywood actor was handed the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards show to honour his use of television to help goodcauses.

Clooney has long been involved with humanitarian causes and has been a major figure in raising awareness of the genocide in the Sudanese region of Darfur, as well as helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina and hosting the Hope for Haiti TV telethon – which was also nominated for an Emmy.

The star was presented with the prestigious prize by his former ER onscreen flame Julianna Margulies, and took to the stage to a standing ovation from the star-studded crowd.

And he took his moment in the spotlight to urge the media to put the plights of disaster victims on the front pages instead of headline-grabbing celebrities.

He said, “It’s important to remember how much good can get done because we live in such strange times where bad behaviours suck up all the attention in the press and the people who really need the spotlight, the Haitians, the Sudanese, the people in the Gulf Coast… Pakistan, they can’t get any (press).”

Lightening the mood with a laugh, he continued: “I thought maybe there was a way to combine the two. I offered to go to the South Sudan and have a wardrobe malfunction, but it was pointed out to me that I’m 49 and it would just be upsetting and kind of sad.”

But Clooney was quick to get back to the point, emphasising the importance of his appeal: “The truth is when a disaster happens, everybody wants to help. Everybody in this room wants to help, everybody at home wants to help. The hard part is part is seven months later, five years later, when we’re on to a new story. And honestly, we fail at that most of the time. That’s the fact. I failed at that. So here’s hoping that some very bright person right here in the room or at home watching can help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heartbreaking situations that continue to be heartbreaking long after the cameras go away. That would be an impressive accomplishment.”

Clooney follows in the footsteps of Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby and Danny Thomas, who have all been awarded the prize in previous years.