Minnie Driver quits as Oxfam ambassador in protest after sex scandal
Actor says she is devastated at awful revelation about Oxfam
Minnie Driver who quit as an Oxfam ambassador. File photograph: Luke MacGregor/PA
Minnie Driver has become the first celebrity to quit as an ambassador of British charity Oxfam following allegations senior staff working in crisis zones paid for sex with vulnerable locals.
The Good Will Hunting star resigned after 20 years with the charity, saying she was “horrified” by the scandal.
In a statement published in an article in the Telegraph newspaper then tweeted from her account, she said: “I am nothing short of horrified by the allegations against Oxfam International.
“In no uncertain terms do I plan to continue my support of this organisation or its leaders.
“And though it is unfortunate that after 20 years I am no longer able to advocate and defend through this specific framework, social and economic injustice is more globally prevalent than ever.
“I certainly will not let the abhorrent mistakes of a troubling organisation stop me or anyone else from working with good people in this space to support a population of human beings around the world that needs our help.”
The 48-year-old later tweeted: “All I can tell you about this awful revelation about Oxfam is that I am devastated. Devastated for the women who were used by people sent there to help them, devastated by the response of an organisation that I have been raising awareness for since I was 9 years old #oxfamscandal”.
During her time as an Oxfam ambassador, Driver travelled to countries including Cambodia and Thailand to highlight the charity’s work and has also performed at a fundraising concert.
Britain’s Charity Commission has now announced it has opened a statutory inquiry into Oxfam and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt is due to give a speech on Wednesday threatening to cut government funding to charities who fail to put robust safeguarding measures in place.
Ms Mordaunt is due to give a speech to representatives from international aid agencies and ministers from over 20 countries at the Agenda 2030 for Children: End Violence Solutions Summit.
She is expected to pledge #5 million in government funds to the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children — a network of governments, aid agencies, foundations and researchers working to stamp out child abuse across the globe.
Ms Mordaunt is expected to say: “The sexual exploitation of vulnerable people, vulnerable children, is never acceptable. But when it is perpetrated by people in positions of power, people we entrust to help and protect, it rightly sickens and disgusts. And compels us to take action.”
She is expected to add: “Unless you safeguard everyone your organisation comes into contact with, including beneficiaries, staff and volunteers — we will not fund you.
“Unless you create a culture that prioritises the safety of vulnerable people and ensures victims and whistleblowers can come forward without fear — we will not work with you.”
Oxfam has issued an “unreserved apology” to the British government, donors, supporters and the people of Haiti over its handling of incidents including the alleged use of prostitutes by workers, in the earthquake-hit country in 2011.
Four members of Oxfam staff were dismissed and three, including the country director Roland van Hauwermeiren, resigned before the end of the 2011 investigation. - PA