From Leonardo Di Caprio to Jeff Bezos to Chris Hemsworth – Take a look at how celebrities are helping in the fight against Australia’s devastating wildfires

Which celebs are helping in the fight against the Australian wildfires? Photo: AP

The horrific fires ravaging Australia have caught the world’s attention, and celebrities have come out en masse to help firefighters battle the blazes. Around the globe, famous names have pitched in, offering help by way of volunteering (as Lizzo did at a Foodbank Victoria) or by way of hefty dollar amounts. Some, such as Serena Williams’ donation of her US$43,000 winner’s cheque at the ASB Open in Auckland, New Zealand, were seen as generous and acceptable. But others, such as Kylie Jenner’s “after the fact” donation, were seen as tone-deaf and a publicity stunt.

Nonetheless, as the fires rage on, more celebs are speaking up on social media and asking for support. While a few preferred to give in private (Shawn Mendes and Selena Gomez have given undisclosed amounts), others, such as Blackpink’s Rosé, only voiced concern (she said she would “try [her] best to donate”). But Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson, and Russell Crowe all put their money where their mouths were and gave US$50,000 to US$100,000 through auctions or other efforts.

The half-million mark has been hit by Kylie and Dannii Minogue, Pink, Nicole Kidman, and Keith Urban, Lewis Hamilton, Nick Cave, and Bette Midler, who all pledged US$500,000, as well as the band Metallica who gave A$750,000 (US$500,000).

But the ones that topped our list were exceptionally generous, tossing in donations of more than US$1 million in some cases:

1. Celeste Barber

Australian comedian Celeste Barber has been gaining a lot of recognition lately, and for good reason. Her Facebook fundraiser for the NSW Rural Fire Service and Brigades simply states: “Please help any way you can. This is terrifying.” According to her page, more than 1.3 million Facebook users from 75 different countries donated a whopping total of US$35 million (as of January 15). She initially hoped to raise just US$30,000.

2. Ellen DeGeneres

The chat show host and comedian DeGeneres, who is married to the Australian actress Portia de Rossi, set up a GoFundMe page in the hopes of raising US$5 million (as of January 15, the fund had US$1.645 million). According to the site: “This campaign will help the firefighters, people, and animals of Australia. The goal is to raise US$5 million, and with your help, Ellen believes we can reach that goal and help those in need.”

3. Leonardo DiCaprio

The star of Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is an environmental advocate whose organization Earth Alliance set up the Australia Wildlife Fund to handle its donation of US$3 million, according to Associated Press. The fund will work with Aussie Ark, Bush Heritage and Wires Wildfire Rescue, according to Rolling Stone magazine, and 100 percent of the donations will go to “local firefighting efforts, support for affected communities and wildlife rescue operations”.

4. Chris Hemsworth

The sexy Australian actor and star of Thor pledged on social media: “My family and I are contributing a million dollars.” Hemsworth posted a video on his Instagram page asking fans to join him by also donating.

5. Elton John

While on his farewell tour in Australia, the British pop star pledged US$1 million to the Australian Bush Funds, stating on Twitter: “Seeing the fires raging across Australia have left me heartbroken. This tragedy has taken lives, homes and devastated so much wildlife.”

6. Jeff Bezos

On January 13, Amazon CEO and billionaire Bezos posted on Instagram: “Amazon is donating A$1 million in needed provisions and services.” Critics say the figure, which is equivalent to US$690,000 – was too cheap a gift for the man worth more than US$100 billion.

7. Kylie Jenner

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Jenner donated US$1 million, but only after fans called her out for an insensitive post of her donning Louis Vuitton real mink fur slippers. Fans were outraged by her hypocrisy, calling Jenner tone-deaf for posting earlier how she was devastated by the loss of Australia’s wildlife.

Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.

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