Born Thor Leonardo Halvorssen Mendoza, Thor Halvorssen is a human rights advocate, film producer, and news contributor. He was born in the socialist country of Venezuela, someplace that has spent the more recent years in the headlines for questionable living conditions and treatment of citizens.
As a child, Halvorssen witnessed the need for basic human rights, and what happens when they are not respected, first hand. His father, once an employee of the Venezuelan government, was unjustly imprisoned, tortured, and beaten for investigating the Medellin Cartel for money laundering and bank fraud. He spent a long and scary 74 days in a Caracas jail, but was eventually released when his son, Thor Halvorssen, lead a campaign with help from Amnesty International to gain his release. A little over a decade later, the family was struck again when Halvorssen’s mother, Hilda Mendoza Denham, was shot and wounded at a peaceful protest. the British subject was in a group of demonstrators who were peacefully and lawfully protesting the Venezuelan recall referendum of 2004 when government supporters began firing into the demonstrators. The entire event was caught on film, and according to Halvorssen, his mother was wounded by members of the Venezuelan government security apparatus. The event left twelve wounded and one woman dead.
These groups shaped the mind and opinions of Halvorssen as a young man, and created the need in him to fight for those who are in unjust conditions. Sine then, he has gone on to become the founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum, president of the Human Rights Foundation, the Patron of On Own Feet, and the founder of the Moving Picture Institute. In his spare time, he is also a contributor to numerous media publications including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Throughout his career, Halvorssen has fought for many things he believed to be unjust including the release of Chinese political prisoner Liu Xiaobo. He has also been widely outspoken against leaders he feels have abused their power including Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni and the Uganda government in their effort to punish homosexuality through death, Hugo Chavez and his unjust leadership, and even American leaders like John Conyers, Jose Serrano, and Jack Kemp. He takes on Hollywood elites who preform and accept payment from foreign governments who he feels treat their people unfairly including stars like Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, Jennifer Lopez, and Nelly Furtado.
Halvorssen continues to fight in any and every way he can to find justice and freedom for those who have been oppressed. The events of his childhood shaped his views of right and wrong, and he is a freedom fighter for those who have lost their voices.