Hours after delivering a statement on the shooting
massacre of nine people at an historic church in Charleston, S.C.,
President Obama and a group of entertainment industry donors had
a lengthy discussion about the roots of gun violence in the first
of two Hollywood-centric fundraisers in Los Angeles on Thursday,
according to an attendee who was present.
About 30 people attended the event at the Pacific
Palisades home of Chuck Lorre, executive producer of “Two and
a Half Men.” Tickets for what was billed as an intimate discussion
with the president sold for up to $33,400 each, with proceeds
going to the Democratic National Committee.
Among those attending were Kiefer Sutherland, Matthew
Perry, Conan O’Brien, UTA’s Jay Sures, Bob Broder, Tennis Channel
CEO Ken Solomon and writer-producer James Burrows.
Next on Obama’s agenda was a larger, $2,500-per-person
event at the home of Tyler Perry. Perry is a longtime supporter
who also held a fundraiser for Obama’s re-election campaign in
Atlanta. He also addressed the Charleston shootings at the Perry
event, before a crowd of about 250 people. “To see such a horrific
event unfold like that is particularly shocking and it’s a reminder
that we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Obama said, according to
a pool report.
Perry introduced Obama, saying that he was “one
of the most incredible people I have ever met.” He joked that
Obama volunteered to take over the Titanic after it had already
struck the iceberg, according to the pool report.
Perry also told about going to the White House for
dinner. On the Truman Balcony afterwards, Obama winked at Michelle
who “turned into a 15 year old girl,” Perry said, per the pool
Among those also at the event were January Jones,
Ted Sarandos, Jason Collins and Matthew Weiner. The Lorre event
was closed to the press, while the Perry event, held at his Tuscan-style
home off of Mulholland Drive, was open to pool reporters.
“There is something particularly heartbreaking about
a death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek
peace,” Obama said at the White House earlier on Thursday. He
said that he and first lady Michelle Obama knew Rev. Clementa
Pinckney, pastor of Emanuel AME Church, who was one of the victims.
“We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that,
once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone
who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands
on a gun,” Obama said, adding that “at some point, we as a country
have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does
not happen in other advanced countries.”
A White House spokesman told reporters that there
had not been discussion of calling off the fundraisers in the
wake of the shootings. While there was speculation earlier on
Thursday as to whether the trips would proceed, in the past the
administration has held to the president’s schedule in the face
of major events. Obama also has fundraisers scheduled in San Francisco
Obama’s trip will be followed on Friday by Hillary
Clinton’s trek to Los Angeles to raise money for her presidential
campaign. She is scheduled to fundraise at the home of Peter Lowy,
co-CEO of Westfield Corp., at a lunchtime gathering. That will
be followed by an early evening reception at the home of Michael
Lombardo, president of programming at HBO, and his husband Sonny
Ward, and then another event the home of actor Tobey Maguire and
wife Jennifer Meyer.
Obama Addresses Gun Violence at
Senior Editor Ted Johnson Senior Editor