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.
We had the one and only Lizzo helping us sort and pack hampers in the warehouse today! If you'd like to join Lizzo in supporting the bushfire crisis, visit https://t.co/aDyjFTSsLE 💜 pic.twitter.com/J5Nn0oyyod
— Foodbank Victoria (@FoodbankVic) January 8, 2020
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.
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It breaks my heart to see this. Australia is on fire and it has been for too long now. I am heartbroken for the people and homes suffering from the fires and the millions of innocent and beautiful wildlife creatures that are injured and dying right now. Australia is a place that I grew up in and I am so sad to see this happen to such a beautiful country. I will try my best to support and to my fans, please visit any of these links to see if you can help: @nswrfs @redcrossau @salvosau @vinniesnsw @wireswildliferescue @wwf Every page should have a link in the bio that leads you to a website so you can help. We can make a difference if we all join in. Please help to save my home country 😔
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
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 8, 2020
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
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#Regram #RG @earthalliance: Earth Alliance, created in 2019 by @LeonardoDiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Brian Sheth, has launched the #AustraliaWildfireFund, a $3 million commitment to assist critical firefighting efforts, aid local communities most affected by the wildfires, enable wildlife rescue and recovery, and support the long term restoration of unique ecosystems, with partners @aussieark @bushheritageaus @wireswildliferescue @emersoncollective @global_wildlife_conservation @oxygenseven. Join Earth Alliance in supporting these critical efforts – please see the link in my bio to donate. #AustraliaFires Photos by Brad Fleet, Wolter Peeters/The Sydney Morning Herald
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
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Hi everyone. Like you, I want to support the fight against the bushfires here in Australia. My family and I are contributing a million dollars. Hopefully you guys can chip in too. Every penny counts so whatever you can muster up is greatly appreciated. In my bio I’ve added links to support the fire fighters, organisations and charities who are working flat out to provide support and relief during this devastating and challenging time. Beyond appreciative to everyone around the world for their well wishes and donations. It really does make a difference, so dig deep! Love ya.
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
Seeing the fires raging across Australia have left me heartbroken. This tragedy has taken lives, homes and devastated so much wildlife. At my Sydney show last night, I pledged $1 million dollars to support the Bushfire Relief Fund.
God bless, Australia. 🇦🇺❤️
Elton xx pic.twitter.com/8umFtjikSa
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) January 7, 2020
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
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.