Monday, January 5

Celebrity charity

The whims of donors and fundraising ... Huffington Post's Lily Karlin reports that Keshia Knight Pulliam was fired from the US  television show Celebrity Apprentice for not reaching out to Bill Cosby for assistance in raising funds. She starred in The Cosby Show, 1984 to 1992.

Fundraising calls are difficult. The reason Knight Pulliam gave on the show was that she had not spoken with Cosby "in I don't know how long." The show's host, Donald Trump, described that refusal as a fatal business flaw. Trump later noted that the show was taped before accusations of sexual harassment and abuse from long ago surged against Cosby.

There are dangers in charity's piecemeal approach of delivering social benefits - almost like lotteries, as warned by Transnational Celebrity Activism in Global Politics: Changing the World? 

As noted by a 2011 review, celebrity activism would seem a win-win for worthy causes as celebrities attract attention. "Rising inequality, fast global travel and communications, have spurred the rush for global activism. The marketing successes of a few celebrities have drawn more celebrities to causes," the review notes. "The celebrity spotlight, intended to expose injustices and acts of humanitarianism, inadvertently reveals entrenched layers of inequality.

Editors Liza Tsaliki, Christos A. Frangonikolopoulos and Asteris Huliaras offer advice for celebrities: participation in activities that are less staged, educating themselves and others to raise awareness about major challenges, and motivating others to act.

The responsibility rests with fans, too, because they collectively choose and create celebrities.

Allure of Deceit, released in February, tells the story about a large and fictional charitable foundation whose staff members manipulate money and programs in Afghanistan for their own personal goals. Publishers Weekly writes: "Froetschel (Fear of Beauty) highlights the problems of charity in this subtle, thought-provoking mystery.... The truth behind Ali’s death proves far from simple in a novel that raises uncomfortable questions about Western efforts to assist people in the developing world."

Write to request review copies of Allure of Deceit.

Photo of Manhattan cocktail, courtesy of Joshua Hammond and Wikipedia Commons. 

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