Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith rocked out, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner got the word out and a constellation of celebrities took their wallets out -- to the tune of $830,000 -- at a charity event and mini-concert organized by John Varvatos and funding a program helping child victims of sexual assault.
That brings the total raised by the annual event over the last decade to $3.53 million, with funds going to the Stuart House, a program created by the Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center to serve the special needs of sexually abused children.
While the silent auction and a spirited live auction helped the event easily outstrip last year’s $700,000 fundraiser, honorary co-chairs Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck underscored the benefit’s other goal of shining a light on the topic of childhood sexual abuse -- and programs that deal with it.
“When I first visited Stuart House eight or nine years ago, I was so impressed with how safe it felt,” Garner told the crowd.
In his comments, Affleck explained that he got involved because his wife had hosted an earlier incarnation of the event. “And when she was telling me about the program she had tears in her eyes.”
After highlighting some of the facts and figures about the prevalence of the sexual abuse of children, Affleck told the audience that the afternoon was about “bringing things to light” and pointed to recent scandals involving the Boy Scouts and Penn State. “They have failed us,” he said. “It is our responsibility to be vigilant.”
Among the notable attendees roaming the tented space in front of Varvatos’ boutique and rocking out to Perry and Tyler (joined on stage at one point by Slash) were Alice Cooper, Cindy Crawford with husband Rande Gerber, Linda Ramone, Jeff Probst, Ty Pennington, Kevin Nealon, denim diva Paige Adams-Geller, Rachel Zoe (with husband Rodger Berman and son Skylar), Jeremy Piven, Melina Kanakaredes, comedian Bill Bellamy and family, Tamara Taylor and David Schwimmer.
In addition to the John Varvatos label, the event’s major sponsors included Hasbro and Chrysler.