How to Dismantle Bono’s Image as a Great Philanthropist

(Reprinted from Thought Catalog)

From a post by Ben Branstetter entitled “6 Liberals This Liberal Can’t Stand

1. Bono

Aside from his music (U2 being one of those bands it’s safe for Boomers to like mostly because it’s where he works out his messiah complex), Bono is also an avid douche. While I cannot deny him the power of his philanthropy, it’s hard not to wonder how many mosquito nets he could buy if he sold off his collection of designer aviator sunglasses. That, and his humanitarian efforts are often laughed at by charities and economists alike. Take, for example, Product Red, the vestige of every enlightened liberal in your college. Built on the idea that people love buying things for themselves more than they like changing lives, the project to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria was largely a boondoggle, with companies such as Nike, The GAP, and Apple refusing to reveal what portion of their special (RED) products would actually go to charity, not to mention they spent $100 million on advertising for the project and, five years after it’s launch, had only raised $18 million. Also, all three of those companies use foreign labor associated with sweatshops, meaning people with these horrid diseases were likely making clothing for upper-class American teenagers who believed they were actually helping to fight those same diseases. You want to support a cause? Make a direct donation and skip the fashionable t-shirt.

Or let’s look at U2’s 2006 world tour for their album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, a tour more largely seen to sell his ONE campaign for international aid. The gross ticket receipts of that tour managed to hit over $448 million dollars (putting it fifth for the world’s most lucrative tour though the top spot is also held by U2 for their 2009 360 Tour which netted the band over $760 million). That’s gluttonous compared to the ONE Campaign’s 2010 earnings of $14.9 million, of which only 1% actually goes to charity (the rest is spent on employee salaries). So remember, when you see his egoistic, holier-than-thou, eternally-unshaven mug on your TV asking for money, donate to an actual charity instead of buying the latest brand because some self-styled Irish demigod told you it was cool.

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Articles Branstetter cites for support include:

Bono and Bob Geldof increase Africa’s problems say Charity (NME): http://www.nme.com/news/bono/32704

Bottom Line for (Red) (New York Times Business): http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/06/business/06red.html?pagewanted=all

U2’s Bono in Charity Scandal (Fabulous Buzz): http://fabulousbuzz.com/2010/10/03/u2s-bono-in-charity-scandal/

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