Celebrity Charity: Is that an Oxymoron?

August 27, 2008 by JS · 8 Comments 

Think back to your high school English days and the exciting discussions you used to have about oxymoron. You know those phrases like wicked good, terribly pleased, and old news. It was always fun to come-up with a few of them. But there’s a phrase that is often uttered in the media that I find to be an oxymoron.

Brad Pitt New Orleans Charity Work Celebrity charity.

Am I alone here?

Sure, celebrities do their fair share of good things. They show-up at charity events and raise money. They give their money to worthy organizations around the world. But how much good are they really doing?

More importantly, how much more could they be doing?

What really got me thinking about this is when Brad Pitt went down to New Orleans to build 150 Green Homes for those who lost their home because of Hurricane Katrina.

Brad Pitt held a press conference and said: “To build those 150 homes, we need the help of the American people. We need to all join together to do this. There is no reason why we can’t do a thousand homes.”

He was right and wrong at the same time. He was right that “there is no reason why we can’t do a thousand homes” but he was wrong when he said “we need the help of the American people.”

Do they really?

Seriously, all Mr. Pitt needs is the help of a few of his friends. In fact, just take the cast of Ocean’s Eleven (or any of the Ocean’s movies) and he would have more than enough to build 1,000 homes at $150,000 per home.

I don’t even need a calculator to come-up with the sum of $150,000,000.

Yes, that’s 150 million. And that is a lot of money.

But you know what? If just half the cast of Ocean’s Eleven – Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, and Julia Roberts – chipped in they could’ve easily footed the bill.

Together they probably make more than $150,000,000 with just one movie.

So why does Mr. Pitt need the help of the American people? Haven’t they already helped enough by going to the movies?

I’m kidding, of course. The American people do need to help others. But the stars in Hollywood need to do a whole lot more.

Because Brad Pitt is one of the good guys. He’s one of the more generous stars. (In all fairness he did give $5,000,000 for the Green Homes.)

There are many other celebrities who blow their money on $10,000 dinners while homeless children starve mere blocks away.

I don’t mean to be a downer, and I’m truly sorry if I’ve offended you in any way.

But I’m just sick of hearing about “Celebrity Charities”. It’s an oxymoron.

If Brad Pitt and all the rest would really give an amount of money that would cause them even a small amount of discomfort then they could really make major changes in the world.

They could really make a positive change.

Sadly, I don’t think it will ever happen. And I fear that “Celebrity Charity” will forever be an oxymoron.

[this post was featured in: Carnival of Personal Finance #168 at]