The Rise of the Celebrity Do-Gooder

Does being in the public eye make a person automatically a role model and therefore expected to do good things?

Some would argue yes, while I’m here to say no.

There are many forms of celebrity, and as the old saying goes, ‘some are born great, some achieve great, and some have greatness thrust apon them’.

I argue that although a person is living their life in the public eye, they should not be expected to be the next Mother Thereasa. Because when celebrities do good in many ways it is harmful to those they do help.

In no way am I saying that all celebrities who are charitable are not helping communities out, many do. What I am saying is that the ways they can help are not always the most helpful, and other ways would be more beneficial.

The best example I can give of this would be Oprah Winfrey’s school for girls in South Africa. Although Oprah had very good intentions for what the school was meant to do, after it was built with a massive grand opening, Oprah went back to America and let the school run as it was. From the school came many reports of abuse from staff towards students and amongst the students themselves. The most harrowing case was a deceased baby was found in a backpack and one of the students was taken to a hospital near by to be treated for excessive bleeding.

Did no one realise this girl was pregnant? Or that she had given birth to a baby that was either still born or later died? Where was the staff that Oprah believed to be suitable for the school in this instance?

Though this example may be extreme, perhaps Oprah could have donated the money in some other way? The students at the all girls school were only allowed to have their parents visit once a month and kept away from the outside world as much as possible  as to not distract from school spirit. 

Although this may seem like a critical attack on Oprah and her efforts, it is not. What this is about, is the charity being done, which has lead to less than the desired outcome. A highly publicised school was always going to come under media scrutiny, it was just lucky for the girls involved that Oprah was the person in charge, who did do all that she could to fix the situation to the best that she possibly could have. 

Celebrities may have the money, influence and connections to do large charitable things, but whether they should do this in such public ways is something for them to consider. Perhaps, an anonymous donation instead? 


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