Sep 3 4:30 PM

Tony Blair named Philanthropist of the Year by GQ

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was named Philanthropist of the Year at the GQ Men of the Year Awards on Sunday in London — an announcement that prompted quite an amusing snarkfest on Twitter:

On its website, GQ wrote glowingly about how Blair has spent his time after his career in politics.

“In 2007 Tony Blair stepped down as Prime Minister, but his surging momentum’s shown no signs of slowing. Alongside his role as a Middle East peace envoy, Blair’s channeled his energy into philanthropy, establishing three charities,” GQ said.

Wait ... his surging momentum??? 

Anyway ... the article goes onto talk about his work in the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which according to its website provides "the practical support required to counter religious prejudice, conflict and extremism in order to promote an open-minded and stable society."

It also talks about his African Governance Initiative, which describes itself as helping leaders "bridge the gap between their vision for a better future and their government’s ability to achieve it."

“I would like to dedicate this award to the people that work with and for my organizations. I feel the pulse of progress beating a little harder,” Blair said of winning the award.

Tony Blair, GQ’s Philanthropist of the Year, at the magazine’s Men of the Year awards, Sept. 2, 2014, in London.
David M. Benett / Getty Images

But much of the backlash at Blair receiving the award stems from his enormous wealth, associations with some unsavory regimes and his push for the Iraq War.

An article in the U.K.-based Telegraph newspaper at the beginning of this year indicates that his estimated wealth is around 70 million pounds (roughly $115 million).

Money he has made from acting as an adviser to the investment bank JP Morgan and the Swiss global insurance company Zurich International along with the advisory roles he has played to the governments of Kazakhstan, which rights groups have called out for having a poor human rights record, Kuwait and others. He is also said to earn as much as 250,000 pounds for appearances and speeches.

The criticism for giving Blair the award also stems from his support for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which was widely opposed in Britain. Earlier this year, Blair told the BBC that he didn’t regret the decision to oust Saddam Hussein.

Organizers of the GQ event, however, defended giving the philanthropist award to Blair, with awards producer Richard Dodgson telling the BBC “we like to have celebrities at our event who cause a bit of a stir. So having Tony was fantastic. We like to have people who have opinions and are forthright."

And who have surging momentum, of course.

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