Celebrities and their charity work: a help or hindrance?

Anne Marie Whelan

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Coldplay: Photo credit – neildennis (Flickr) 

Celebrities and charity work, a good or bad thing?  The two seem to go hand in hand.  Or, would charities be better off without the  helping hand of the celebrity?   According to Sunday Times, online, celebrities can’t get enough out of doing their bit for charity.  Some of the most charitable celebrities include Elton John, David Beckham, Coldplay and One Direction.  The question is, are they  genuinely interested  in helping out charities?  Or are they doing charity work because they feel that they are under obligation to do so because their agent says that it will make them popular with the public?

For example, Miley Cyrus took a homeless man,Jesse Helt, to the VMA awards.  As he accepted the award on Miley’s behalf, he took the opportunity to promote the plight of homeless people in LA.  Drawing attention to the issue of homelessness is one thing; but using her celebrity status in this shamelessly self-seeking way to highlight the issue is another.  It makes you question how  genuine was her interest in helping the homeless.   Is she another, in a long line of publicity hungry celebrities, who are only interested in promoting their celebrity brand, than in helping charities to raise awareness and funds for their causes:

The motives of the celebrities who do charity work are questionable.  On the Niall Boylan radio show, Classic hits 4FM, they were discussing the right of homeless people to stay in Apollo house and questioned the motives of  the celebrities behind the Home Sweet Home homeless charity group.  Was Jim Sheridan and Colin Farrell genuinely interested in helping the homeless or were they only interested in raising their public profile as do gooders.

But then again there are charities that have greatly benefitted  from the help of celebrity star power.  And, they seem genuinely interested in helping the charities to raise awareness for their causes and to help raise funds.   These include Bono, Bob Geldof and director, Richard Curtis, whom, whom according to Save the Children’s CEO, John Forsyth. said that:

“Without the campaigning energies of Bono, Bob Geldof and Richard Curtis, for example, I don’t believe 46 million more children would be in school today in some of the world’s poorest countries*

However, the ego centric and publicity hungry celebrity does seem more interested in feeding their ego than in feeding and helping the homeless.

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Anne Marie Whelan