Playing It Cheap: Untold Story of Celebrity Philanthropy

Courtesy of The Mirror

This opinion piece asks, “Do you believe today’s Sports and Entertainment celebrities’, philanthropic behavior is different from those of the past?”

In today’s world of celebrity philanthropy from the Sports and Entertainment sector, Inside Philanthropy David Callahan in the “IP Briefing” writes that such celebrity philanthropy pales to the giving of Tech moguls. Noting the nostalgia of 1985’s Live Aid, “Celebrities have a unique capacity to leverage their influence during global crises. Consider Live Aid, the legendary 1985 concert broadcast around the globe to a viewing audience of 1.5 billion.”

But this touch for nostalgia misses the point. We live in the day and age of how big your social media followers are, let alone how many of them are fake followers from a paid bot farm. It’s all about impressions, number of views on a social media post. But speaking about a long ago concert that reached 1.5 billion, is different from what these celebrity fat cats actually tributed in cold hard cash besides their appearance onstage in front of a global audience.

Why does it matter? Because in 2001, Rosie O’Donnell was quite vocal of the celebrity chicanery, or bait-and-switch, of doing disaster relief concerts asking the less fortunate to donate, all the while holding onto their coins.

In a March 26, 2002 article in People, “Rosie O’Donnell Blasts Stingy Celebs” by Louise A. Barile, Barile writes:

Rosie O’Donnell, 40, revealed during her appearance last night on the Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” that she turned down an offer to participate in the 9/11 “Tribute To Heroes” televised fundraiser because she felt the telethon organizers didn’t push wealthy stars to donate more money, reports the New York Post. “The fact that every single person who appeared on it, who had the ability to give that kind of money, yet did not, and was not expected to by America, stunned me,” she said on the show. O’Donnell said that she was disappointed that six celebrities she contacted the morning after September 11 refused to donate $1 million each to a relief fund. She would not reveal their names. O’Donnell, who gave $1 million to the Red Cross, opined that it was unfair to ask average Americans to donate funds yet not expect wealthy celebrities to contribute their share. “I’m saying, you in America, you should expect your millionaires to give millions,” said O’Donnell on the program. “Especially if they’re going to stand on TV and ask the peasants for pennies.”

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