Elon Musk and Murdoch Stripped of Ginsburg Award Amid Streisand's Critique

Streisand Voices Opposition to Controversial Award Recipients.

by Nouman Rasool
Elon Musk and Murdoch Stripped of Ginsburg Award Amid Streisand's Critique
© Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Fueled by a potent critique from iconic singer Barbra Streisand on Instagram and growing dissent from several notable individuals, including the Ginsburg family, the Opperman Foundation has made the decision to cancel the ceremony that was set to honor Elon Musk and Rupert Murdoch with the 2024 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Leadership Award.

Julie Opperman, the chairperson of the Opperman Foundation, expressed regret over the controversy in a Monday statement, saying, "The last thing we intended was to offend the family and friends of RBG." The foundation had initially announced last week that this year's recipients of the award, which has expanded its scope to include both genders, would be a diverse group including Elon Musk, Rupert Murdoch, Martha Stewart, Sylvester Stallone, and Michael Milken.

However, this announcement was met with immediate backlash, particularly from members of the Ginsburg family and associates of the late justice. James Ginsburg, RBG's Grammy-winning son, and Trevor Morrison, a former clerk for RBG, voiced strong opposition, urging the foundation to reconsider their selection.

"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," James Ginsburg commented to CNN.

Streisand's Strong Critique

The criticism reached a crescendo when Barbra Streisand, a previous recipient of the award, publicly condemned the choice of honorees via Instagram.

Streisand, reflecting on the virtues of Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor and their dedication to democratic principles and women's rights, questioned the appropriateness of this year's selections, indicating that Justice Ginsburg herself would likely not have supported them.

The award, initially named the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Woman of Leadership Award, had been previously given to luminaries such as Queen Elizabeth II and Diane von Furstenberg.

The inclusion of Musk and Murdoch this year sparked controversy due to their perceived divergence from Ginsburg's values and legacy. Justice Ginsburg, who passed away in 2020 at the age of 87, was celebrated for her groundbreaking work as the first Jewish woman on the Supreme Court and her staunch advocacy for women's rights—a legacy seemingly at odds with the conservative leanings of Murdoch's media empire and Musk's controversial statements.

In response to the backlash, the foundation declared, "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 cancellation marks a significant moment in the ongoing debate over the legacy of public figures and the values they represent.

This controversy underscores the complexities of honoring individuals in a way that truly reflects the principles of the figures to whom the awards are dedicated.

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