So what does Russell Simmons have to do with the expected diamond-industry backlash against Blood Diamond? Nothing — yet.
According to LA Weekly‘s Nikki Finke, Simmons’ upcoming fact-finding mission to Botswana, which FishbowlNY first reported, was the result of Simmons’ viewing of the Leonardo DiCaprio-starring film at the urging of Bonnie Abaunza, the Los Angeles-based director of Amnesty International’s celebrity outreach program. But Simmons’ trip isn’t being sponsored by Amnesty International; rather, by the Diamond Information Center — “which just happens to be the De Beers cartel’s U.S. marketing arm.” Simmons, the U.N. ambassador, of course, is the proprietor of the Simmons Jewelry Company. But that’s not what Hollywood cares about, anyway:
All along, the real question behind the scenes of Blood Diamond is not whether it will be an Oscar contender (probably) or a critics’ favorite (possibly). It’s just how much mud the World Diamond Council and its flacks and flunkies and friends are planning to throw at the well-intentioned film and its too-liberal-for-the-room credits. Now the answer is clear: a lot, more than enough to dirty its awards chances.