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Is celebrity involvement in charity campaigns always the right thing?

The #twitrelief campaign by Comic Relief
received a surprising amount of criticism on the social networking site Twitter
last week.

The campaign featured an online auction
that enabled members of the public to bid money for a celebrity to ‘follow’
their tweets, as well as for other extras.

These extras, some of which were much
more enticing than the ‘follow’, in my opinion, included a walk-on part in the
next Richard Curtis film, the opportunity to be a guest on the Christian O’Connell
Breakfast Show
on Absolute Radio, and the frankly less appealing chance to
watch comedian Ruby Wax have her next Botox injection.

Within just a few hours of the
campaign’s launch, the hashtag #twitrelief was one of the top trends on
Twitter, something which most charity campaigns can only dream of.

However, the majority of the comments
regarding the campaign weren’t positive.

Some Twitter users claimed it ‘went
against the spirit of Twitter‘ to pay for follows; while others considered it
condescending that celebrities thought their follows were worth so much money. Others asked why the rich celebrities didn’t just donate money from their
own pockets instead.

A number of the
celebrities involved hit back by asking ‘isn’t all
money raised for charity a good thing?’

The campaign does raise the interesting
question of celebrity involvement. Members of the public often react negatively
to being asked to donate money to charity by people considered to have much
fatter wallets.

But who is to say how much these people
donate privately? Wouldn’t we be sceptical of a famous face who bragged about
how much they were giving away and what their true motivations were?

While debate continues on whether
#twitrelief was a good idea, I’m going to stick my neck out and say I believe
it was. Looking at the amount of money that has already been bid and thinking
about the people it will help, it simply can’t be a bad thing.

  • Sir Robin Bogg

    I think the main issue is that it is partly because our society places so much value on “celebrity” that there is a need to raise the funds in the first place. It demonstrates where our priorities sadly lie.