Minnie Driver steps down as charity ambassador over Oxfam sex scandal

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Susan Devaney
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Minnie Driver releases a statement as she steps down from her role. 

Minnie Driver has become the first celebrity ambassador of Oxfam to step down from her role amid the sexual abuse allegations currently facing the charity.

The actress – who’s best known for her roles in Hope Springs and Good Will Hunting – made the decision to withdraw from working with the humanitarian aid organisation after more than 20 years of support.

As one of the charity’s 16 ambassadors, Driver took to Twitter to share her devastation in learning that allegations have been made against aid workers paying earthquake survivors for sex in Haiti in 2011, saying:

“All I can tell you about this awful revelation about Oxfam is that I am devastated,” she said. 

“Devastated for the women who were used by people sent there to help them [and] devastated by the response of an organisation that I have been raising awareness for since I was nine years old.” 

The resignation comes as more than 1,270 people cancelled their monthly donations to the charity in just three days.

Driver had been to countries, including Cambodia and Thailand, in her role as a celebrity ambassador. She had also been a spokesperson on trade justice and making world trade rules work for developing nations.

“I am nothing short of horrified by the allegations against Oxfam International,” Driver said in an official statement.

“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.”

In a statement, Oxfam praised the work and achievements Driver made during her collaboration with charity, saying: “Minnie Driver has been a devoted Oxfam supporter for many years, and we are grateful for her commitment to ending global poverty.

“Her decision to step down as an Oxfam Ambassador saddens us deeply, but we also understand and respect her choice.

“As an organisation, we are ashamed by the actions of some of our staff and are more committed now than ever to learn from our mistakes and ensure we uphold the highest levels of safeguarding standards in our work around the world.”

In recent months, Driver has fully supported the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up initiative. Taking to Twitter to not only show her support, but also publicly challenge her ex-boyfriend, Matt Damon, over his controversial remarks about sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood.

Driver, who starred alongside Damon in Good Will Hunting and dated the actor in the late Nineties, told the Guardian she felt compelled to speak out after realising how many men did not understand women’s experiences of sexual misconduct.

“I felt I desperately needed to say something,” she said. “I’ve realised that most men, good men, the men that I love, there is a cut-off in their ability to understand. They simply cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level.”

You can read more information on the Oxfam story here.

Images: Rex Features