As more and more entertainment figures promote social causes, philanthropy experts and cultural commentators are divided on whether celebrities help or hurt in advocacy, the Financial Times writes.
While many praise the type of “celebvocacy” personified by Bono and Bob Geldof, who frequently strategize with world political and diplomatic leaders on African poverty, other contend the glitz that comes with it undermines the credibility of relief efforts and reinforces notions that poor countries require rescue by rich outsiders.
Trevor Neilson, a philanthropy consultant who advises Angelina Jolie, said stars “can create a lot of energy around an issue, but that needs to be harnessed in a specific direction. … You can create a noise without achieving anything.”
A recent high-profile effort to harness star power to raise money for an AIDS charity may be backfiring, according to the New York Observer.
A campaign launched Wednesday in which dozens of celebrities silenced their Twitter and Facebook accounts until their fans and followers gave $1-million to Keep a Child Alive has raised $161,000 so far, and the momentum of giving is slowing, the Observer reports.