A special Dispatches investigation into celebrities charging huge fees to support charities. Reporter Antony Barnett sets up a fake charity and goes undercover to reveal how some of the most famous people in Britain are profiting from the work they do for charity – such as posting on social media and appearing at events. Dispatches obtains a shocking list of big-name stars and the fees they charge charities. Stars from the world of reality TV, sport and entertainment, and one of the most famous women in the world, all agree to back the fake charity in return for cash. And in an exclusive poll, Dispatches finds out what the public really thinks about celebs cashing in on charities.
Last year Channel 4’s Dispatches were tipped off by a charity fundraiser that some celebrities were charging large sums of money for their support with one British Hollywood star being offered for £60,000 – for just one appearance.
As part of their investigation Dispatches invented a fake charity ‘Cleaning Up Plastic Pollution in Africa’ or CUPPA and set up a basic website with some merchandise. Posing as CUPPA, Dispatches then contacted celebrity booking agents, who work with a large number of clients in the UK and around the world, to see if any celebrities would be willing to offer their support and, if so, how much they would charge. Dispatches was offered a range of names that the agencies claimed would be interested in undertaking charitable roles for a fee. CUPPA was never registered as a charity and did not seek donations.
London based Talent agency MN2S work with one of the most famous names in reality TV Caitlyn Jenner who without being prompted told Dispatches presenter Antony Barnett that she might be willing to support CUPPA but it would come at a high cost.
In an email sent last year detailed fees for Caitlyn quoted almost £12000 for just one social media post and almost £39000 to appear at a charity ball. MN2S said that on top of these fees, business class travel for two and a five-star hotel would need to be provided.
With Caitlyn appearing I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here earning a reported £500,000. Months of negotiating saw fees mount with Dispatches being quoted almost £6,400 for a Instagram photo and £1,200 for hair and makeup. This brings the total quote to almost £60,000.
To find out if an agent for one of the most famous women in the world would really charge a small charity this much money, Dispatches signed a contract for the photoshoot and Instagram post with Caitlyn Jenner, and paid MN2S over £19,500.
The following day, a photograph of Caitlyn Jenner wearing a CUPPA t-shirt and holding a CUPPA cup was posted on her Instagram. Some of her 10 million followers praised her for her charitable work. Under US and UK advertising rules, Caitlyn Jenner’s post should have made clear she’d been paid – but it didn’t. We didn’t ask her to, but she didn’t offer it either.
Caitlyn Jenner’s lawyer stated: “It is well known to the public that sometimes celebrities are paid fees for doing promotional work for charities. The benefit is mutual… Apart from this instance, she has never been paid for her charitable work, and always intended to donate the money raised via the photoshoot and Instagram post to charities she supports…She feels that she has been targeted in the programme because of her status as a well-known TV personality and that she has been exploited to increase viewing figures.”
DISPATCHES: CELEBS FOR SALE: THE GREAT CHARITY SCANDAL, CHANNEL 4, 8PM, MONDAY 9TH MARCH 2020