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Celebrity charity appeals are branded 'poverty porn': Aid watchdog describes video showing Ed Sheeran meeting a street boy in Liberia as 'terrible'

December 5, 2017 1:22 AM
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Charity appeals fronted by celebrities such as Ed Sheeran and Eddie Redmayne were yesterday branded ‘poverty porn’ by an aid watchdog.

It said that a Comic Relief video showing pop star Sheeran meeting a street boy in Liberia and offering to pay for his housing was ‘terrible’, adding: ‘This video is about Ed Sheeran.

And a Disasters Emergencies Committee (DEC) film fronted by actor Tom Hardy featuring images of malnourished children in Yemen was described as ‘devoid of dignity to those starving’.

The same charity’s East Africa appeal, which featured Oscar-winner Redmayne, was dismissed as being ‘awful’ and ‘close to poverty porn’ by the Norwegian Students and Academics International Assistance Fund (SAIH).

The three films are nominated in the ‘Most Offensive’ campaign category in the Radi-Aid awards from SAIH, which aim to challenge aid groups over repeating stereotypes about those who are living in poverty.

The DEC’s Yemen appeal raised £27million and its East Africa appeal raised £60million.

Nicola Peckett, of the charity, said: ‘DEC is not about general poverty in Africa and the developing world.

Liz Warner, the chief executive of Comic Relief, said that its nomination by SAIF would serve as a ‘constant reminder of the need to stay as relevant as possible going forwards and to give a voice to the people affected by the issues we care about’.

Jennifer Lentfer, director of US-based charity Thousand Currents, which supports grassroots organisations, said she had noticed a resurgence of ‘poverty porn’ coinciding with cuts in public funding for charities and aid agencies.

‘It is not surprising,’ she told the Guardian. ‘Pity and shame are easy emotional levers to pull.

Miss Ogard said that, by contrast, small organisations were coming up with more creative ideas – nominated for the watchdog’s ‘Golden Radiator’ award.

They included a ‘powerful and positive’ film by the group War Child Holland which features a child in Yemen, laughing and playing with a Batman character.

Miss Ogard said: ‘It shows it is possible to play on our emotions without playing on guilt.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

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