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Reality star under fire after asking for $75,000 in donations to hurricane victim
Should she have used her own money?
Real Housewives of Atlanta reality star Kim Zolciak-Biermann came under fire this week after she made a post to GoFundMe on Sunday asking people to help raise $75, 000 for a close family friend, who lost his home during Hurricane Irma.
“Junior is the kind of person you just want to be around. On our many visits to the island, we’ve gotten to know him well, inviting him over for family dinners, playing pool, and playing with the kids at the beach,” Zolciak-Biermann writes in the post.
Junior’s home was on Turks and Caicos where Hurricane Irma tore through its main island, leaving behind ripped-off roofs, flooded streets, snapped utility poles, and a widespread blackout, according to the BBC.
Although many sympathized with the 20-year-old’s plight, many commenters quickly pointed that Zolciak-Biermann and her family can easily pay for a new home themselves, citing multiple in-show instances where the family has spent thousands of dollars on luxury items, and at a casino.
Other users defended the reality star, arguing that the family could have already sent money privately, and there is nothing wrong with asking others to donate to Junior’s cause. The criticism raises the question of what is “enough” when it comes to celebrity relief fundraising.
By comparison Beyoncé dominated much of last week’s headlines after photos of the singer surfaced online of her in Houston handing out diapers and food to residents. This after donating a large, undisclosed sum and launching her own fundraising initiative for Hurricane Harvey relief on her website, according to Rolling Stone. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt started a fund on YouCaring.com to raise money for victims of Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 26 with an initial goal of $200,000, ultimately raising over $30 million. Comedian Kevin Hart donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross.
Tickets for George Strait’s benefit telethon “Hand in Hand” sold out in 20 minutes after they went on sale, according to KENS5—tickets bought in support of an overarching cause. Many celebrities have called on their fans to donate money to initiatives aiding relief efforts, what makes Zolciak-Biermann’s personal post on GoFundMe any different?
GoFundMe did not comment on Zolciak-Biermann’s crowdfunding backlash.
Danielle Ransom is a journalist who has worked as a researcher for CNN, NBC's KXAN-TV, CBS' KEYE-TV.