Many celebrities have been amazing about donating a large part of their fortune to charity. It really shows that they’re not all about money, and that they’re willing to part with their fortune in order to benefit all of humankind. But while this is undeniably a great thing for celebrities to do, many of them go about it in completely the wrong way. The worst thing is that donating to charity, or forming charities, is seen as “trendy” these days. Celebrities love to “hop on the charity bandwagon” without actually contributing anything of value. Some of the biggest celebrities are guilty of this, and the worst part is that many of them actually lie about it when confronted.
But that’s not the only way celebrities can be disingenuous when involving themselves with charity. Others intentionally mislead donors about where the money is actually going. Others accept money from shady business partners, or use their charities to avoid taxes, pay their friends huge salaries, or pursue even more nefarious activities. It’s possibly the worst thing you can do. Sometimes these celebrities have been ostracized for their activities, while in other cases, they simply go on with their lives, without any consequences whatsoever.
15. YouTube Star Lies About Donating Hair
Popular YouTuber Lele Pons has over 18 million followers, and is a major YouTube celebrity. As we all know, social media content creators like her are making millions from YouTube revenue, and they’re beginning to rival more mainstream, traditional celebrities. But if you know anything about YouTubers, you know that they’re definitely not free from drama and controversy. A great example of this was when Lele Pons claimed she had cut off her hair and donated it to charity, presumably for chemotherapy patients. But a few fans looked closely at the picture she posted, and began to ask questions.
One fan (who was later blocked) inquired, “Care to explain how you chopped off your ‘hair’ and ‘donated’ it @lelepons?? Last time I checked you can’t donate extensions.”
After much pressure and media attention, Lele Pons finally owned up to lying about it, saying, “To help clear up any assumptions, I cut my hair with the intention of donating it. Sadly after trying, I learned charities who donate wigs don’t accept color-treated hair.”
14. The Truth About Zuckerberg And Charity
One of the most famous celebrities who has publicly vowed to dedicate his life to charitable and philanthropic work is Mark Zuckerberg. He is also one of the richest people in the world, so when he announced that he was going to donate 99% of his Facebook shares (over 45 billion dollars) to charity over the course of his life, people were shocked and impressed. But what does this plan actually entail? In essence, he will be moving the majority of his wealth from Facebook to a new company called Chan Zuckerberg Initiative LLC. An LLC is basically an alternative to a charity, and it’s a type of company that is not subject to taxes or oversight.
Basically, what this means is that Zuckerberg will be free to use that money to invest in for-profit organizations, lobby for changes in the law, and make political donations. His explanation for all this is that he wants to make the future a better place for everyone. But that aim is so vague and misleading that it can be interpreted in multiple ways. Perhaps the most obvious interpretation is that Zuckerberg simply wants to stop paying taxes on his money, and invest in some promising new companies in the process. Will his initiative actually benefit the human race? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…
13. The Baldwins’ Charity Used Donations To Pay Their Own Wages
The Baldwins are one of the most famous Hollywood families, and people just loved Alec Baldwin‘s recent work on Saturday Night Live. But while Alec mocked others for their behaviour and views, he himself is not entirely a saint either. The Baldwin family started a cancer charity called The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund of Central New York, and this charity raised some eyebrows after questionable financial decisions. It was discovered that the family actually paid Alec’s sister, Elizabeth, a whopping $250,000 as payment for being the “executive director” of this charity.
The crazy thing is that this salary amounts to 58% of the charity’s revenue. This means that people who donated to this fund weren’t actually donating to breast cancer research; they were donating to somebody’s clearly inflated wages. Many people close to the Baldwin family have commented on how this is hardly surprising given the character of the family, and that they don’t really care about anyone but themselves.
12. Senator Roy Moore Took A Huge Yearly Wage Out Of A Charity He Started
Roy Moore is another well-known individual that has come under fire recently for his shady involvements in charities. Last month he was the Republican Nominee for the state of Alabama when his charity came under close scrutiny. From 2007 to 2012, Roy Moore acted as the president of the Christian charity he founded, working there part-time and demanding a hefty sum from the charity’s revenue. Project Jeremiah paid Roy Moore an average of $180,000 for his role as president each year. His duties included speaking fees and little else. In total, Roy Moore earned more than 1 million dollars during his time as president of this charity.
This goes completely against what Roy Moore previously said about his role. He had once claimed that he had never received a salary for his services as president, but this was of course far from the truth. This senator even took funds directly out of the charities funds (made up of mostly donations) if the revenue alone could not pay his salary. One charity was even forced to give him a promissory note when they failed to pay him, a fee that rose to over $540,000.
11. Lamar Odom Started A Charity Inspired By His Mother’s Stomach Cancer But The Money Went Elsewhere
Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian gained a lot of praise when they started their own charity in 2004, which they named “Cathy’s Kids.” This charity’s mission was outlined on their eBay page, from which they receive most of their donations:
“[Cathy’s Kids] was developed as a means for Lamar to streamline all his charitable efforts and focus on making a positive impact on the lives of under-privileged children, as well as targeting a disease that has played a significant role in his life: cancer. Lamar lost his mother to stomach cancer and subsequently is committed to help causes that are focused on finding a cure and helping people who suffer from the disease.”
As you can see, the charity promises to donate money to benefit cancer research, as a result of Lamar Odom’s mother passing away from stomach cancer. But there’s just one small problem. Of the impressive $2.2 million that the charity has raised, not a single cent has gone towards cancer research or any cancer-related charity. That’s not to say that they’re keeping the money for themselves though – far from it. They’ve actually donated $1.3 million of their donations to elite youth basketball teams, which is impressive. It’s just not what they said they were going to donate the money to.
10. Wyclef Jean Only Donates 5 Million From 16 Million In Haiti Earthquake Donations
Wyclef Jean‘s charity, Yele, is looked upon with disdain by the majority of people who have actually heard about it. The charity was created to help Haiti victims after the earthquake of 2010. Instead of actually helping anyone, the charity was liquidated two years after the earthquake. In its wake, it did not leave behind much, other than unpaid debts to Haitian companies, which have still not been repaid. How could a charity like this fail so spectacularly? What actually happened? The charity was actually investigated and found guilty of “financial improprieties,” and the results of the investigation are quite interesting.
The forensic audit found that over $250,000 had been used for “illegitimate benefits” to Wyclef Jean and other board and staff members. Among these expenses were almost $25,000 in chauffeur expenses, and extensive funds used for private jets. In 2010, half of the charities $9 million in donations went to travel expenses and wages, and incredibly large amount. There are countless examples of the charity spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on hospitals, housing and meals that never actually materialized.
9. Jack Scalia Raised 100K For 9/11, But Only Donated 5K
You may remember Jack Scalia from various soap operas such All My Children, and many others. He has been involved in several charities, one of which was dedicated to 9/11 families, and others were geared towards war veterans. The charities didn’t actually raise much money – a little over $100K. But the most disturbing this is not that the charity didn’t raise much money, but instead the fact that no money was actually donated. The IRS actually revoked the charity’s tax exempt status after they had failed to submit a single tax return since their creation. At the end of the day, all the authorities could find was about $5,000 dollars in donations to 9/11 victims.
So where did the other 95K go? If you ask Jack Scalia, he remains tight-lipped. His official story is that he has no idea where the money went. He says that he left all the financial planning to other people, and he was just “riding his motorcycle” and being the spokesperson for the charity. Jack Scalia declared bankruptcy not long after this scandal.
8. Harvey Weinstein Used A Charity Auction For AIDS To Pay Off His Debts
If there’s one rich celebrity that is getting a lot of hate right now, it’s Harvey Weinstein. We’ve all heard about the s*xual abuse allegations, but apparently this guy’s wrongdoings don’t end there. There are separate allegations of the alleged mishandling of a charity event where Weinstein used part of the money raised to pay off debts he had with a theater, which had helped him put on Finding Neverland. The charity, known as amfAR, is known for raising money for AIDS and HIV research.
The auction featured a grand prize that was auctioned off for a whopping $950,000. Of that money, $350,000 went towards AIDS research, whereas the other $600,000 went to the theater that Weinstein owed money to. Weinstein asked the amfAR president if this was acceptable, and he agreed. But the board of amfAR says they were not consulted. Additionally, Harvey Weinstein is alleged to have threatened a lawyer working for amfAR last year for “digging into his s•x life.”
7. Millionaire Andrew W.W. Caspersen Scams A Charity Out Of 25 Million
Andrew W. W. Caspersen is the son of a wealthy multimillionaire financier Finn M. W. Caspersen. He graduated from Harvard, got a great job which paid millions, and slowly became addicted to market speculation, which is very similar to a gambling addiction. His father actually shot himself while being investigated by the IRS for tax evasion. He approached an unnamed charity, and offered a tempting investment scheme that promised a 15% return. The charity wired him 25 million, and 400,000 in additional funds provided by the employee of the charity.
Caspersen then lost all of the money after some very bad trading, and was later arrested after returning from a vacation in Florida with his family. He has been sentenced to 12 to 16 years behind bars, but he was able to get out of prison on a $5 million dollar bond. Obviously Caspersen is to blame, but fingers are also being pointed at the Charity employee who decided to invest 25 million in a very dodgy scheme.
6. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Charity Accepted Donations From An Embezzlement Scheme In Malaysia
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is one of the most famous celebrity-founded charities, although these days it might be famous for the wrong reasons. The charity is now shrouded in mystery and controversy, and part of the reason for this is due to the way the company was set up. This company is not actually a non-profit organization, but instead a donor-advised fund attached to the California Community Foundation. What this means in simple terms is that the foundation is not obliged to release any of its financial information.
This only made the charity look worse when the US Department Of Justice was investigating a massive embezzlement scandal in Malaysia, where 3 billion dollars was taken from a sovereign wealth fund. This money belonged to the people of Malaysia, essentially. The link between DiCaprio and Malaysia is Jho Low, a Malaysian national who was brought into the “inner circle” of the Malaysian government. He is also a good friend of DiCaprio’s. What the DOJ is basically saying is that corrupt Malaysian officials were using DiCaprio’s charity to essentially launder the money they were taking from the sovereign wealth fund. The DOJ also alleges that The Wolf Of Wall Street was funded by the money coming from the embezzlement scandal.
5. Jerry Sandusky Used His Charity To Abuse Boys
Probably the most disgusting case of someone abusing a charity involved football coach Jerry Sandusky. To make matters even worse, Jerry Sandusky actually set up the charity himself. The charity was called The Second Mile, and was dedicated (at least at face value) to helping underprivileged and at-risk youth, and aiding their parents. The charity was seen as quite a success in its early years, with then-president George W. Bush praising the efforts as a “shining example” of good charity work. The charity is said to have served over 100,000 children in Pennsylvania at its height.
But perhaps “service” is the wrong word to describe the charity’s relationship to young children, as it was later discovered that Jerry Sandusky was using the charity to meet, groom, and coerce young boys into situations where they would be exposed to s*xual abuse. Out of the whopping 48 abuse victims he was accused of violating, he had met all of them through the Second Mile organization.
4. Kim Kardashian Only Donated 10% From Her Charity Auction
Kim Kardashian is another celebrity who has been caught in a pretty shady charity controversy, although hers is admittedly much more innocent than many of the other celebrities on this list. Her charity revolves around her eBay page, which sells a variety of items, many of which are pre-owned, with the expressed goal of donating the funds to charity. The charity she chose is the Dream foundation, a charity which grants wishes to terminally ill adults. She chose this charity because her father passed away from cancer.
But if you read the fine print, the eBay page carries the disclaimer “a portion of the sales revenue will go towards the dream foundation.” Many people would assume that this portion would be the majority of the sales, but that’s not the case. It’s not 50%, it’s not 25%, and it’s not even 15%. It’s only 10%…
3. Blogger And Author Lies About Having Cancer AND Donating To Charity
A well-known Australian blogger and author was publicly disgraced after the shocking truth was revealed about her involvement with charity. Belle Gibson became popular in Australia and across the world in 2013 after claiming on multiple social media accounts that she had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and had only 4 months to live. She started to ask for donations, which she claimed would go to charity. But her downfall came when one of the charities that she claimed to be connected with, Asylum Seekers Resource Center, noticed that there were no actual donations being made in connection with Belle Gibson.
She was soon charged in a court of law with fraud, and could be charged $200,000. Her company could be fined over 1 million dollars. She was forced to admit that she never actually had cancer, making her one of the most hated people around the world. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered that she had only donated about $10,000 dollars out of the $420,000 in the money that had been donated to her by people around the world.
2. Author Greg Mortensen Lied About His Charity
You may have heard of the author Greg Mortensen before – he wrote the New York Times best-selling books Three Cups Of Tea and Stones Into Schools. But he is also well-known for starting the charitable organization called The Central Asia Institute. But he really started to get a lot of media attention when it was discovered that he had been abusing the charity for his own personal gain. He used to charity to fund his own book promotions, among other things that the charity did not directly benefit from.
In addition, the charity claimed to have built many schools as part of its benevolent operations. But upon closer inspection, it was discovered that most of these schools were built by someone else, were empty, or were not receiving any money from Mortensen’s charity. It seems obvious that the majority of the money being spent by the charity was not on actually helping people, but helping Greg Mortensen himself, by promoting his books and furthering his own career.
1. Didier Drogba’s Charity May Be “Misleading” Donors
Didier Drogba was one of the greatest players to ever play in the premier league, and he has also won tons of praise for his charitable work off the pitch. The ex-Chelsea striker started something called the Didier Drogba Foundation, which aimed to help children in need living in the Ivory Coast, Didier Drogba’s home country.
But the foundation was embroiled in a scandal following a report by the Daily Mail, which alleged only about 15,000 pounds had been spent out of the 1.7 million in donations. This prompted Didier Drogba to argue that he was innocent, and a special investigation began. Although the investigation found there was no foul play, they did find that he was guilty of misleading his donors, as the foundation actually had two branches – one in the UK, and one that operated in the Ivory Coast. The two have identical names, but when people donated to the UK branch, that money was put into an account and was not spend on hospitals, schools, or any of the other things that the foundation claimed to support.
The official report stated: “Donors will have expected their donations to have been used for charitable purposes, not accumulated in a bank account. Donors to the English charity may also have been misled about the activities of the charity they were supporting. This is because the impression was given that the English charity had financed the activities of the Ivory Coast Foundation, which is clearly not the case.”