Goldie Hawn Regrets Handshake with ‘Hateful’ Nigerian President


Yesterday, actress Goldie Hawn tweeted a photo from the World Economic Forum at Davos in which she shook the hand of Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan.

Said Hawn in the tweet: "Met the wonderful President of Nigeria".

Hawn was quickly informed of the heinous anti-gay oppression Jonathan has inflicted on the country's gay and lesbians population with his signing of a new law criminalizing gay unions and gay organizations. Dozens have been arrested across the country and are facing trials in Shariah Courts, where homosexuality is a possible death sentence.

The tweet has been removed amid a flurry of responses from Hawn expressing her regret and embarrassment over the photo.


  1. Dback says

    And that, Hollywood and the world, is how you appropriately apologize and smooth over a potential PR disaster.

  2. edude says

    On the face of it, I forgive her. But I definitely think that barrage of apologies and disclaimers is fertile ground for Shia Labeouf’s metamodernist cultivations, if he re-emerges from his retirement.

  3. Jon says

    At what point do we as the LGBT community stop relying on the willful ignorance of personalities love to be in the spot light but are seriously uninformed about any current events. The damage is done; it’s like a judge telling a jury to ignore the previous comment.
    Miss thing on the View now says her entire interview was not published and she apologizes……
    Mr. Bachelor says it’s his lack of ability to use the English language correctly; then why didn’t you say PERVERT in Spanish.
    Mr. I’m so Gay member of One Direction tweets Love to the Bigot from Duck Dynasty and then says he’s sick of his comments being scrutinized. Don’t use the media as a forum then especially for something you’re ignorant about!
    Elton John makes music with Rap’s number one homophobe and sexist, Eminem, says he does not need marriage as he has a Civil Union and then says as a celebrity I Must Marry to show the Gay World I’m with them.
    Mr. Sochi Olympics, extremely GAY skater says he’s shocked at the hate aimed at him for not speaking out against Russia’s new Anti-Gay Law and says his opinions cannot play a part in him doing his job. You have no opinion you fool, you’re in it for the money and nothing more.
    Anti-Gay, Anti-Obama, Anti-Anything Progressive Glen Beck says if you don’t like Gays you’re no friend of mine. Does anyone in the LGBT Community really believe this rhetoric?
    Obviously I could go on forever with instances of hypocrisy from the Right and Left but I think we all get the point.
    We are on our own in the world of politics and in our own personal daily lives. We must protect ourselves and our loved ones from the greed and ignorance of the world and not accept these tokens from those too stupid not have said them in the first place.

  4. jjose712 says

    At least she knows how to apologize, i suppose that’s easier when you are not a bigot and you really regret what you did (even when you didn’t know that was wrong when you did it)

  5. j.martindale says

    I don’t blame her. The problem is that the press has not made enough of an issue out of Nigeria and Uganda. They are only recently beginning to cover the atrocities in Russia. If it weren’t for MSNBC and Comedy Central, people would not know anything about it unless they were gay.

  6. mike says

    If a lot of people who live in LA actually read newspapers or took any interest in anything other than film and tv they might have a clue what was going on in the world.

  7. funnyjeffrey says

    Although her previous ignorance of the situation in Nigeria is disturbing, it points out how difficult it is to get the word out about atrocities in a world in which we can filter and ignore news while we spend more even as we spend more and more time on social networking sites.

    Her apology was quick, sincere and personal. I can’t ask for more. She deleted her post and it looks like responded to every person who had commented. She did not offer an excuse, she said she was embarrassed. Other celebrities could learn from her example.

  8. Zlick says

    Yep. Not everyone is up on the status of gay rights around the world, and – as pointed out – unless Ms. Hawn watches MSNBC or Comedy Central for her news – she likely has not heard about Nigeria, Uganda, or for that matter, India … and has barely heard about Russia. It might actually be good she made this gaffe, because it led to a bit of education for her that she missed by being an averagely news-informed straight American. And unlike many before her (thanks, JON, for those wonderful examples), this apology seems perfectly genuine to me.

  9. keating says

    Her apology was genuine. And this incident helps do what the American media haven’t been doing: publicize the horrors.

  10. Strepsi says

    See, this is the GOOD side of Twitter — the direct engagement of the celebrity.

    Because without her Tweeted photo, the same idiot PR flacks on her team that arranged the handshake would have squirted out some statement, but protected her in her bubble.

    Thanks for reaching out Goldie!

  11. danswon says

    I presumed this was the case. She’s a good person. Give her a break. I hope she’s not receiving abuse for this.

  12. crispy says

    The sad fact is if you walk into any gay bar in America, three-quarters of the gays there won’t know what’s going on in Nigeria.

  13. Lucca says

    She now understands, and has shed a little more light on the subject. Thank you Goldie for stepping up.

  14. Macguffin54 says

    Why do stars always repeat the same or slightly re-worded tweet a hundred times? I guess it is a way of making a big statement without actually having to say a whole lot. It’s quantity not quality to them.

  15. Zell says

    A genuine apology. Definitely forgiven, and probably overall a good thing as it raised awareness of the issue (at the very least in the demographic of blonde actresses in their late 60’s who have seen Kurt Russell naked).

  16. says

    Wow. An actual apology. It’s so simple and easy and yet so rare. She didn’t know and now that she does she has regrets. Thank you Goldie for correcting your own mistake and not acting defensive of victimized. now that you know, please tell others. They don’t know either.

  17. Mick says

    I love Goldie Hawn and I love the fact that most of us knew that she was simply uninformed of these issues. She loves us and supports us. This is a very classy woman.

  18. Leroy Laflamme says

    Sincere apology aside, I can’t help wondering why she referred to him as the ‘wonderful’ President of Nigeria in the first place. What was it about him that made her think he was wonderful?

  19. johnny says

    If you’ve ever seen her interviewed, she has a vernacular that is filled with some hyperbole, she’s really a VERY nice – if not somewhat a little spoiled – person.

    As to her being a ditzy blonde, totally not true, she’s actually very savvy. The ditzy character was/is an act. If you read about her career, she was on top of gaining control over her image, production company, films, voice, etc. long before many women in Hollywood ever even thought about it.

  20. reality says

    Her apology is sincere and should be accepted by everyone. Hopefully she’ll lend her voice to oppression of this kind around the world.

  21. AdamK says

    If she’s so ignorant about world affairs, what’s she doing at Davos hobnobbing with world leaders?

    Thanks for nothing, Goldie.

  22. EYE ROLL says

    LEROY – it looks like she was in a meet and greet line and being introduced to a whole bunch of people. She probably talked to him for a second or two and maybe he was very charming and nice to her. Thus, her original tweet. When you talk to someone for all of a couple of minutes, your first impression may be incorrect until you know the complete backstory. She was being polite.

    Like what was said earlier here, there are many in our OWN community who are woefully ignorant on what is going on in Nigeria and other parts of the world (hell, even to what is going on at home), so boys, give it a rest. She realized her mistake. No need for her to be sent to GLAAD for punishment.

  23. Bill says

    @AdamK : the “world leaders” probably arranged via her agent for her to attend because they wanted to hobnob with her.

  24. joe says

    If i wasn’t for relentless posting on sites like Towleroad i wouldn’t know most of these atrocities around the world. So thank you. Keep posting & I’ll keep tweeting & maybe collectively we can put a crack in the corporate media bubble…?

  25. Ryan says

    This was very good on her part — and very believable that she wouldn’t be informed. I doubt most people know anything about what’s going on there now.

    Glad she apologized and I hope people will accept it. This incident itself is probably a good thing, because I bet it exposed a lot of people to what’s going on who otherwise wouldn’t have known anything at all.

  26. MFinBH says

    Several people seem to get what’s happened here: First, since, for all intents and purposes retiring from the screen, Goldie has dedicated herself to animal protection and early childhood education. So she’s probably at Davos for funding, and maybe got a commitment on game reserves from Nigeria’s president, or just a quickie meet ‘n greet with positive PR tweets following to help her fund.

    It’s entirely reasonable to expect that she is unaware of the human rights abuses in Nigeria (though I take her for a NY Times reader, but one doesn’t read the whole thing).

    Finally, she’s never been a dumb blonde. She’s long been considered one of the smartest stars in Hollywood (who else stays on top for 35 years before quitting by choice?), and one of those women who thrived on a huge gay following (and she knows it). So, upon discovering the backlash, she’s gracious and sincere in her apologies. You can lay odds she’ll be doing a great deal of research – and probably advocacy – now that she is aware.

    So, if anything, she may be better for her mistake. Keep an eye out for upcoming talk show appearances, within the next 60 days. She’ll have them all booked by next week, and she’ll have her briefing ready for the interviews.

  27. Fox says

    @AdamK – While I think Hawn’s apology is sincere and accept it, like you, I have to wonder why she’d be shaking some political person’s hand and not bother to find out ANYTHING about him. I’d never publicly gush that someone was “wonderful” without knowing anything about them.

  28. jamal49 says

    Botox will do that to ya, Goldie. Here’s a hot tip: never, ever do anything remotely political (like shaking hands with a leader of a country that has been in the news enough that one could skim the news pages and have at least some sense of who he might be) without educating yourself first.

    Apology not accepted, Goldie. Not any more. You want to be stupid and craven? Go ahead. Just don’t expect me to be all warm and forgiving.

  29. Dumb Blonde says

    I like Goldie, but she truly is an idiot and has no clue what goes on in the real world. There was also once a video of her dancing up a storm when Vladimir Putin was singing at an event.

  30. EYE ROLL says

    FOX: she was at Davos, a summit where world leaders of all stripes attend. She met him in a meet & greet line and may have been told of who he was seconds before she met him. She shook hands with dozens of leaders that afternoon. He may have been a charming person when they met and she was being polite without knowing the backstory. She made a mistake. Move on.

    JAMAL: when you have reached the pinnacle of perfection, you will have the right to judge everyone else. Get over yourself and lose the chip on your shoulder. Who needs your forgiveness…you seem like a miserable person anyways. Look at the bigger picture, Goldie is not our enemy.

  31. Adam says


    I am glad the majority of posters have some level of understanding. We do seem to be quick to skewer anyone and everyone, I am not sure that helps.

    She made an error, potentially an understandable error given the situation. She was not aware of every issue in the world. It was brought to her attention and she apologized, which seemed very sincere.

    There will be times when leading gay actors will make similar errors and not be aware of similar type issues occurring to a different minority or vulnerable group and hopefully they will not be skewered in such a way.

    The world is a large place with lots of bad things going on; it would be great if we all were 100% aware of all atrocities, but that is just not viable. I know many people are just responding with some visceral reaction but I personally don’t think it is a fair assessment of her or the situation (and I am not a particularly big fan of hers).

  32. Abraham says

    If a man has a 21 year old daughter whom he dearly loves and both being adults decide they like to have sex with each other despite being biologically related will that be acceptable? Or imagine catching your 17 year old son making love to his 15 year old younger sister, I guess that will be Ok too. Yet we accept that two consenting adults have a right to practice homosexuality while we term the above scenarios incest and look down on those who involve in such acts though they are also with consent. Homosexuality is an aberration, an ignominy and a perversion. It is very saddening that supposedly great nations have not only come to accept it but have decided it is their duty to impose it on other nations too. Where is the democracy we so loudly espouse if we can’t accept a law made by a democratically elected government and which is accepted by over 99% of citizens? Should the 99% be made to condone the vagaries of the 1%?