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Musk, Murdoch Receiving RBG Award “An Affront”

The family of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is calling out an organization which had been entrusted to hand out a yearly award in her name.

Last week, the Dwight D. Opperman Foundation announced that Elon Musk, Rupert Murdoch, Martha Stewart, Michael Milken and Sylvester Stallone would be the 2024 recipients of the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Leadership Award which, until this year, was called the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Woman of Leadership Award and dedicated to “women of distinction.”

This year, however, the foundation announced it was refocusing the award on honoring “both women and men who have changed the world by doing what they do best.” Unfortunately, it seems someone forgot to tell the Ginsburg family.

The family’s statement, released to Mother Jones, reads as follows:

The decision of the Opperman Foundation to bestow the RBG Women’s Leadership Award on this year’s slate of awardees is an affront to the memory of our mother and grandmother, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her legacy is one of deep commitment to justice and to the proposition that all persons deserve what she called “equal citizenship stature” under the Constitution. She was a singularly powerful voice for the equality and empowerment of women, including their ability to control their own bodies. As it was originally conceived and named, the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Woman of Leadership Award honored that legacy by recognizing “an extraordinary woman who has exercised a positive and notable influence on society and served as an exemplary role model in both principles and practice.” This year, the Opperman Foundation has strayed far from the original mission of the award and from what Justice Ginsburg stood for.

The Justice’s family wish to make clear that they do not support using their mother’s name to celebrate this year’s slate of awardees, and that the Justice’s family has no affiliation with and does not endorse this award.

One of last year’s honorees, Barbra Streisand, has also spoke out today, saying in part, “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.”

The change in the foundation’s direction comes after its founder Dwight Opperman, to whom Ginsburg lent her name for the honor as originally imagined, as passed away. The new chair, Julie Opperman, said in announcing the change to her late husband’s legacy, “Justice Ginsburg fought not only for women but for everyone. Going forward, to embrace the fullness of Justice Ginsburg’s legacy.”

That, it seems, is also now in doubt as the April 13 event has been canceled.

In a statement late Wednesday, Opperman said the foundation will now “reconsider its mission and make a judgment about how or whether to proceed in the future.” 

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