Reviews Press

Celebrities, charities, and complaints

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 19 August 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:465
  1. Rhona MacDonald, assistant editor (
  1. BMJ

    In the current climate, where politician bashing is a popular sport and celebrities are worshipped as demigods, six leading UK charities (Data, Oxfam, Plan UK, Tearfund, Unicef UK, and WaterAid) came up with a cunning publicity stunt by praising the UK government through the words of top celebrities. However, they have been bashed a bit themselves as a result.

    On 2 August, in a full page advertisement in the broadsheet the Independent, the six charities organised and funded an open thank you letter to the prime minister, Tony Blair, and the chancellor, Gordon Brown. The letter was signed by 15 UK and Irish celebrities, including Bono (lead singer of the rock group U2), film actor Jude Law, and film maker Richard Curtis.

    The letter started off by saying “A big thank you” in large bold letters then continued, “It's unfashionable to congratulate politicians in public but we are going to anyway—to say thanks for increasing funds available to tackle world poverty now and for committing to reach the UN aid-giving target by 2013 at the latest.”

    After praising them some more the letter finished, “We cannot stop here. In 2005 as chair …

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