5 Celebs Who Were Already on the Haiti Bandwagon
With the whole world fixated on Haiti, and with us still fixated on celebrities, we thought we might try and write something that combined the two into a fun-filled list, because that’s not totally crass and inappropriate at all. Look, if we stop writing lists in the face of tragedy, tragedy wins (or at least the terrorists do). Before Brangelina made it hip to donate millions of dollars to the Haiti relief fund and before George Clooney turned his Haiti telethon into the party of the year, there were a handful of celebrities, not even including Wyclef, who were doing their best to help the impoverished nation long before it became a trending topic. All of ’em after the jump.
Ben Stiller: We imagined that if Stiller had taken up any charitable cause, it would have been illiteracy. You know, The Ben Stiller Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good. But last summer the comedian visited Haiti and was moved to action. “It’s an incredible country, with amazing people and a vibrant culture,” he wrote on the Huffington Post in December. And so Stillerstrong was born, his part-satirical, part-for real campaign to build a school for the kids of Cévérine, a Haitian village. The whole thing is a not-so-subtle ribbing of Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong schtick, except instead of those rubber wristbands, you can wrap the Stillerstrong logo around your head, Zoolander-style. But like any prankster looking to embrace the web, Stiller structured it like a kind of social media variety show, posting Youtube videos of himself having staged phone calls with Bill Clinton about, among other things, Rockband. Since the earthquake hit, Stillerstrong has obviously re-focused its efforts.
Josh Brolin, Mario Bello, Madeleine Stowe, Paul Haggis, Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Diane Lane and Charlize Theron: For brevity’s sake, let’s count these famous people as one really, really famous person. They’re all listed as board members for Artists for Peace and Justice, an organization headed by Crash director Haggis, which has been dedicated to helping the children of Haiti. Their website has a draining 9-minute video that shows Brolin, Stowe, and Bello on a sightseeing trip around Haiti (sights include literal rivers of garbage). Video highlights include Brolin saying “It was the most disgusting comment I’ve ever heard in my life,” about PR people who coaxed him into joining charities for the sake of it. Also, a pre-downfall John Edwards makes several appearances that can’t help but feel icky.
Rainn Wilson: Last October, prior to a six-day fact finding mission to Haiti, Office star Rainn Wilson and his wife held a benefit for who else, the children of Haiti. He video-blogged the entire trip via USA Today, and obviously forged a strong connection with the country and its people. Since the earthquake hit, he’s been tweeting non-stop about the how we can help. Some of his more memorable tweets: “Going 2 bed not knowing if all the beautiful children in the schools & orphanages we visted in Oct. r all dead or not. Our hotel destroyed,” and “Body: Shreveport, Mind: Scranton, Heart: Haiti.”
Bill Clinton: These days there isn’t a part of the world Bill Clinton isn’t trying to save, and technically, it was Barack Obama who touted the former president as the U.N. special envoy to Haiti. But if you go back all the way to 1994 when Clinton was still in office, it was he who threatened to use force against the country’s dictatorship, paving the way for the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Clinton never could have predicted the weight his role of special envoy would hold in the wake of the catastrophe there. Indeed, his desperation showed when he welcomed the help George W. Bush, who himself deployed a few hundred marines to the troubled country during his presidency.
Julia Roberts: We’re not quite sure what Julia Roberts has done to help the people of Haiti, but USA Today has her listed as being involved with the Dignity-Haitian Literacy Fund way back in 2000, around the same time Angelina Jolie was drinking blood and tongue-kissing her bro.