Monday, January 18, 2010

Dear stupid celebrities....

Allegations came out recently that Wyclef Jean's charity "Yele Haiti" has been misappropriating funds. The accusations are that donations are being used to pay for rent on a sound studio, video and audio production costs, and air time. Wyclef, of course denied that he had in anyway personally benefited from the money and said that these are normal expenses from an organization like his to have.

The catch here is that Wyclef is personally a controlling partner in all of the companies that were paid for these services. It may or may not be legal, but it is most certainly a misrepresentation and misleading to those that donate money. Additionally, the charity only puts 69% of the money towards actual programs. The rest is spent on "administrative" costs. So people are donating money to this Haitian charity fund, but only 69% of it is actually being spent on anything worthwhile, the rest is going to feed Wyclef's business. What's up with that?

Of course, most charities do have overhead just like any business because it takes admin cost to fund raise. But the reputable ones have closer to a 15/85 split, not 30/70. The legitimate ones also post this information on their website so that they aren't hiding or misrepresenting anything.

Bottom line, why don't all of these stupid celebrities write a blank check instead of trying to squeeze pennies out of middle America ? I mean, seriously? Wyclef Jean can write million dollar checks and not even flinch. I don't have problems with celebrities hosting concerts or fundraisers as long as the celebrities themselves are writing fat checks for the cause. Not just donating their "services" (as if singing or playing a guitar is a service) and then skimming off the top and putting a guilt trip on everyone else to donate money. The only thing worse than people hosting benefit concerts are celebrities like Sean Penn who actually try and go "do good" in person (Katrina). Who needs Sean Penn in a canoe trying to rescue people on his own and how in the hell is that helping the situation? To me, it just seems like one more person that has to be rescued when he gets stuck under a bridge or something. If he really wanted to do good during Katrina, he would have rented/bought 20 helicopters and pilots and given them all of the financial resources they need to help people. I think the problem is the celebrities actually start to believe they are the characters they play. I know Kung Fu!?

They would all do well to take a chapter from Sandra Bullock's book. Every time a tragedy like this happens, she writes a check. That's it. She doesn't host a stupid event trying to get other people to do what she can do better (give money) and she certainly doesn't try to fly to the disaster site and gum up the works by trying to personally help people, she leaves it to the experts and gives what they need most to fix the situation, money.

So the second bottom line, give what you can, but give it to reputable organizations that have a history of helping people and are qualified to get the job done. Why would you give money to Wyclef Jean when you could give to the Red Cross? And to the celebrities that read this blog (you know who you are), stop being stupid, dish out the cash, and then go away.


  1. Hold on Jake, you don't expect Celebs to donate to their programs. That eats into their booty, drug and segway money. Its soooo much better to use their status to get other people to give money to them and use award shows to voice their political views. For the record, I will not give any cash to a Celeb run charity...stop calling

  2. "booty, drug, and segway money..." hahaha

  3. Right on...

    Hey Bono - I didn't pay 125 dollars to come to your concert so you can preach to me about how we need to change the world. Take some of the money 100,000 people just gave you for one show, donate it to whoever you want, and dance, monkey, dance.

  4. Even if Wyclef is making some money from it, there is still a significant amount that goes to charity to help the people that need it. I think if more people got involved and gave a damn like Bono, Wyclef, and Sean Penn then the world would be a better place.

    What Sandra Bullock did is commendable, but you said yourself that these celebrities can write a $1mil check and not even flinch so it would seem that them just writing a big check is meaningless. Probably saves them a lot in taxes or something like that. The people like the above mentioned celebrities who are in the thick of it actually trying to help are making more meaningful contributions than someone just writing a check.

  5. HamBone, I will send some money to Haiti in your name...If you could just send $20 or even $1000 to Jake to give to me I will make sure it is taken care of. OH, I also have a rich uncle from Russia that needs to put some cash in your you mind giving out your checking account number, he will pay you 10% just to hold his money.

  6. Hambone -- Just because a celebrity could donate a million dollars without
    it doing any damage to their overall wealth does not make it any less significant. If you are trying to tell me that Sean Penn made a bigger difference by going to New Orleans himself as opposed to donating a million dollars to a relief fund, you are crazy.

    I have no problem with celebrities becoming involved in charity or any other philanthropic activities. But there is such a thing as tact, and force feeding your ideologies to your paying audience, or taking money from your fans for profit do not fit in that mold.

    If Bono wants to help change the world and wants to have charitable concerts / speaking engagements / TV appearances, I have no problem with that. Good for him. But don't charge 100,000 people a hundred bucks a pop and then preach all night about all the suffering in Africa. Not to mention the fact that he is an egotistical maniac and like many other celebrities, I am convinced he does these things more for his image than the people in Africa.

  7. Hambone don't be such a bonehead!!! It is much better for celebrities to give a donation! They can still help out in other ways too but first they need to put their money where they mouth it!

  8. I think you guys don't understamd the fundamental difference between "worth" and "meaningful". While a million dollars might be worth more, these celebrities going in person to help is more meaningful. Someonelike Bono putting on an event and giving moving speeches about relief efforts is way more meaningful and powerful than him just writing a check. These celebrities are doing their part to help and trying to inspire average people to stop being so greedy and do their part too.

    Moonb - Send me your account number first and then I'll transfer the funds.

    Nancy - what does "put their money where they mouth it" mean?

  9. and Jake - you can't have two bottom lines!

  10. Bone- A couple of things.

    1. Learn how to spell "understand" and then you can criticize other people's spelling.
    2. I would not recommend giving Moonbeam your bank account information.
    3. You are so wrong on this issue that its making me sick to my stomach. When it comes to people starving, dying, etc.. "meaningful" vs. "worth" gets thrown out the window. Feel good songs and guilt trips on the middle class to open their wallets hardly make a dent in relief efforts. Big time charities like the red cross and celebrity donations are what make the most difference. Money makes the world go round. And in a tragedy, money does the most good, not recording studios, catchy lyrics, and flashy sunglasses.

    So if celebrities really want to make an impact, then they should step up to the plate and lead by example. Writing checks to help is the most inspiring thing they can do in these situations, not sing us a song. And if average joe's want to help, they should send their money to established charities with a good track record for results, like the Red Cross, not to hacks like Wyclef Jean.

  11. Amen Jake...minus item number 2

  12. Us middle class people need to stop being so greedy and be more like celebrities.....hahaha

    Let's have a moment of silence in honor of all the hard work celebrities have done. It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of a microphone and tell their audience they should help people in need.

    Anybody who thinks Bono is this incredible human needs to do some research on this Joker. The guy has no class, no backbone, and might be one of the biggest hypocrites alive.