Music

Elon Musk & Rupert Murdoch No Longer Receiving Ruth Bader Ginsburg Award After Criticism From Barbra Streisand

Mere hours after a damning Instagram statement from Barbra Streisand amid piling criticism from a number of figures, including the Ginsburg family, the ceremony that would have honored Elon Musk and Rupert Murdoch in the late justice’s name has been canceled.

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“The last thing we intended was to offend the family and friends of RBG,” said Julie Opperman, chair of the Opperman Foundation, in a statement on Monday (March 18).

Announced via a press release last week (March 13), this year’s honorees for the foundation’s 2024 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Leadership Award included Elon Musk, Rupert Murdoch, Martha Stewart, Sylvester Stallone and Michael Milken.

Swift backlash ensued, with members of the Ginsburg family — including the late justice’s Grammy-winning son James Ginsburg — and former RBG clerk Trevor Morrison calling on the Opperman Foundation to remove her name from the award. “When you think of trying to create a more just society, which of course was Mom’s ultimate goal, those are probably about the last names that would come to mind,” Ginsburg told CNN.

Late Monday afternoon, EGOT winner Barbra Streisand took to her official Instagram page to share a message condemning the choice of this year’s honorees. In a statement reflecting on receiving the honor from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor last year, the Grammy winner wrote, “Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor stand as two of the most respected women role models, and their commitment to democratic values, especially women’s rights, is unequaled.”

She continued, “That’s why I join the Ginsburg family in condemning the choice of honorees this year. I had the privilege of meeting Justice Ginsburg on several occasions, and I strongly doubt she would approve of these awardees.”

Formerly called the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Woman of Leadership Award, the honor — which has previously been bestowed upon Queen Elizabeth II and Diane von Furstenberg — expanded to include men as recipients this year. Musk and Murdoch’s names courted the most controversy due to their values starkly contrasting with RBG’s legacy. As the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court and an ardent protector of women’s rights, Justice Ginsburg symbolizes values that don’t often align with Murdoch’s conservative media empire or Musk’s frequent brushes with anti-Semitism. Ginsburg passed in 2020 at age 87.

In their statement, the foundation said, “Our purpose was only to remember her and to honor her leadership. And, while we believe each of the honorees is worthy of our respect for their leadership and their notable contributions, the Foundation has decided that the planned ceremony in April 2024 will be canceled.”

The ceremony was originally slated to take place at the Library of Congress — which stressed that they were simply a “venue” and otherwise unaffiliated with the award — on April 13.

The RBG Award rollercoaster is just the latest stop on a busy awards season for Streisand. Last month (Feb. 24), she received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award from the organization’s 30th annual awards ceremony. Streisand, of course, is also one of the most successful musicians of all time, earning 11 No. 1 albums across six decades on the Billboard 200.

James Ginsburg won the 2021 Grammy Award for best chamber music/small ensemble performance for Contemporary Voices. He boasts three career nominations.

Read Barbra Streisand’s statement below:

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