Friday, January 15, 2010

Clooney to Host MTV Telethon for Haiti

In an event scheduled to happen later this month, MTV has announced plans for a telethon to raise funds for the relief effort in the devastated country of Haiti. Actor George Clooney has signed on to host the telethon on January 22ndto raise funds for victims of the earthquake. Thus far ABC, NBC, HBO and CNN all plan to simulcast the event. Clooney said that he has been reaching out to famous friends and performers to join in from both coasts. His rep said Thursday night that the event’s logistics are still being ironed out, including what organizations/charities will be involved and which musicians will perform. Mediaite notes, "not since Hurricane Katrina have we seen this sort of united support within the broadcast television community, and perhaps only now do we start to see the scale of this disaster."

Clooney's not the only celebrity to get involved in humanitarian efforts. Politics Daily's Emily Miller has the full rundown:
Many Hollywood celebrities, including Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, have announced large financial donations to relief causes for Haiti.

In press releases, tweets, Facebook updates and Web site posts, celebrities are publicizing their support and appealing to the public to follow their lead by donating to nonprofits.

Pitt and Jolie are giving $1 million to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières because "it is incredibly horrible to see a catastrophe of this size hit a people who have been suffering from extreme poverty, violence and unrest for so many decades," they said in a statement . The actress is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations' High Commissioner for Refugees.

"We are devastated by the news from Haiti," said the couple, who visited Haiti in 2006 to support musician Wyclef Jean's charity, Yele Haiti. "We will work closely with our good friend Wyclef Jean to support the humanitarian efforts on the island and help those who have been injured and left without homes and shelter."

Wyclef Jean, a native of Haiti, has long raised funds for his homeland. Since the earthquake struck, he has been leading fund-raising efforts by asking people to text "Yele" to 501501 to donate $5 to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund.

Also donating to Doctors Without Borders is Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. He pledged $250,000 to the organization and Partners in Health for Haitian relief efforts, through his foundation, LiveStrong.

After visiting Haiti last year, actor Ben Stiller was inspired to start a charity called "STILLERSTRONG" with the group, Save the Children, to raise money to build schools in one community. Since the earthquake, Stiller's organization has encouraged donations to the United Nations and redirected all donations to his foundation to these relief organizations.

Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin, who visited Haiti in 2002, urged people to donate to OxFam, saying, "The earthquake that has struck Haiti will have turned the city into an unimaginable hell."

In the twitterverse, celebrities pointed fans to their select charities. Actor Ashton Kutcher directed fans to UNICEF, as did singer John Legend, who tweeted Tuesday night: "A terrible earthquake today in Haiti, a desperately poor country. UNICEF is on the ground providing relief. Help!"

Rapper P. Diddy asked fans to text donations to Yele Haiti, tweeting: "God Bless Haiti!!!! God please!!!" Other celebrities tweeted for Haiti, including singer Adam Lambert, "House" star Olivia Wilde, singer Selena Gomez and actress Alyssa Milano.

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey opened her show Wednesday with an appeal for donations to the Red Cross. "This is a time where we, as a global nation, should come together and support those who are in need." she said.

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