Rant: Madonna’s Raising Malawi charity is one gigantic fraud


For years, Madonna’s “charity” Raising Malawi has been mired in fraud, lies and simple bad business. Madonna has long been accused of using the “charity” as a front for Kabbalah, for exploiting Malawians, for wasting resources and for wasting everybody’s time. While it’s no secret that millions of dollars raised by the charity (at a high-profile fundraiser that brought out many of Madonna’s friends) have gone missing, nor is new information that Madonna assembled a crack team of con artists and grifters to “run” the charity. Back in January, Madonna even announced that her planned $15 million Kabbalah girls’ school had been scrapped, and since then, everything has been in a holding pattern. Now the New York Times has a new detailed report on everything that’s gone wrong – you can read the full piece here. It’s an interesting read about how a hyper-narcissistic celebrity was too oblivious, corrupt, stupid or inept to follow through on any single charitable promise she made, but merely showed up for the photo-ops.

A high-profile charitable foundation set up to build a school for impoverished girls in Malawi, founded by the singer Madonna and fellow devotees of a prominent Jewish mysticism movement, has collapsed after spending $3.8 million on a project that never came to fruition.

The board of directors of the organization, Raising Malawi, has been ousted and replaced by a caretaker board, including Madonna and her manager, officials with the organization said Thursday. Its executive director, who is the boyfriend of Madonna’s former trainer, Tracy Anderson, left in October amid criticism of his management style and cost overruns for the school. These included what auditors described as outlandish expenditures on salaries, cars, office space and a golf course membership, free housing and a car and driver for the school’s director.

Most strikingly, the plans to build a $15 million school for about 400 girls in the poor southeastern African country of 15 million — which had drawn financial support from Hollywood and society circles, as well as the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre International, an organization devoted to Jewish mysticism — have been officially abandoned.

That prospective move set off a fierce backlash when first raised earlier this year, with Malawi officials saying they were stunned and asserting that Madonna was blaming management breakdowns because she had been unable to raise the money she had promised.

“A thoughtful decision has been made to discontinue plans for the Raising Malawi Academy for Girls, as it was originally conceived,” Michael Berg, a co-director of the Kabbalah Centre and the co-founder of Raising Malawi, said Thursday in an e-mail to the center’s members who had contributed to the project. The e-mail announced the replacement of the board of directors.

Madonna has lent her name, reputation and $11 million of her money to the organization that she founded with Mr. Berg. She has been a regular visitor to Malawi, attending at least two ceremonies at what would have been the site of the school in Lilongwe, and has adopted two children from the country.

On Thursday, in conceding the shortcomings of her charity, Madonna issued a statement saying she was still intent on using the organization, which has raised $18 million so far, to advance improvements in the beleaguered nation.

“There’s a real education crisis in Malawi,” she said. “Sixty-seven percent of girls don’t go to secondary school, and this is simply unacceptable. Our team is going to work hard to address this in every way we can.” She and her aides offered no explanation of why, given her high interest in the project, she had not noticed the problems as they began unfolding.

Trevor Neilson, a founder of the Global Philanthropy Group, which Madonna recruited last November amid signs of upheaval at her charity, said he told her that building an expensive school in Malawi was an ineffective form of philanthropy, and suggested instead using resources to finance education programs though existing and proven nongovernmental organizations.

Mr. Neilson said that an examination found that $3.8 million had been spent on the school that will now not be built, with much of the money going to architects, design and salaries and, in one case, two cars for employees who had not even been hired yet.

“Despite $3.8 million having been spent by the previous management team, the project has not broken ground, there was no title to the land and there was, over all, a startling lack of accountability on the part of the management team in Malawi and the management team in the United States,” he said. “We have yet to determine exactly what happened to all of that $3.8 million. We have not accounted for all the funds that were used.”

But in a statement, Madonna said she was pleased with other work that Raising Malawi had done in helping children in Malawi, even as she acknowledged its problems. “While I’m proud of these accomplishments, I’m frustrated that our education work has not moved forward in a faster way,” she said.

Raising Malawi will not disband and will instead use its money in different ways to help the poor in a country where Madonna has sought to become a major philanthropic presence, foundation officials said.

[From The New York Times]

Some of you might suggest that I give Madonna a break, or that things simply happen and it’s no one’s fault. Bullsh-t. Madonna is a smart woman, and she’s been able to make herself into one of the richest, most profitable pop stars and celebrities ever. The fact that absolutely nothing went right, that nothing got done, that none of Madonna’s promises were fulfilled and that millions of dollars were lost, stolen or simply blown on dumb, useless projects, that all proves to me that Madonna simply doesn’t care. That she was just doing all of this for attention, and that it was just some whim, some phase she went through to try to get more attention for being more like Oprah/Angelina/Clooney. She only cared about showing up for the photo-ops. She couldn’t even care enough to donate her own money to the projects she announced, sending out a video asking for donations. Her apathy disgusts me, and her atrophied ambivalence regarding the promises she made to the Malawian people is criminal.




Photos courtesy of WENN.

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84 Responses to “Rant: Madonna’s Raising Malawi charity is one gigantic fraud”

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  1. mln76 says:

    Really gross, I am officially done with her.

  2. nicca says:

    Leave her alone! Plastic surgery is expensive. Anyway, she wouldn’t do anything wrong, she wears a red bracelet..duh

  3. Elj says:

    She probably spent the 3.8 million on botox and arm-vein implants.

  4. birdie says:

    This is offensive…As she sits in soft lighting, with an expensive marble column prominently displayed, thousands spent on creating the face that asks “you to get involved in Malawi.” Because she’s not rich enough to pay for her own sketchy charity projects?

    “It’s not just about stealing children from the local communities, it’s about paying them off so they forget.

    You can’t expect me to pay them off alone, although I will generously contribute 1/2 the funding needed for my vanity project, I would like you, Birdie, thousands of dollars in debt for your law degree, to think of others and make a donation to Raising Malawi. And all my fans who pay hundreds of dollars for a ticket to my concert, please know that some of your money is going to a good cause, but most of it is going to plastic surgery and interior decorators. So give more money to my charity and let me take the credit. They call me God. – Madonna”

  5. Julie says:

    Pretty is as pretty does and this only confirms to me how ugly she is; it’s been obvious with the evolving cat face on the outside, but even more so on the inside.

  6. Nancy says:

    I don’t think this is all her fault she invested 11 million of her own money in this project so who’s to say what is really going on even she can’t control everyone around her.

  7. birdie says:

    I posted that comment a year and a half ago.

    It still holds true.

    To be a multi-millionaire, to be one of the wealthiest women in the world, and to look to others to fund your vanity projects, begets an obvious personality dysfunction. Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or Histronic perhaps. This woman has mental problems; she should not be admired, she should be called out for this hypocritical crap the same way Octomom is called out.

    I think Madonna’s true nature really sheds light on her divorces, family feuds, and adoption scandals. She’s an awful woman, cheap, stingy, demanding. Give me an orphan, no give me two.

    The mere fact that Gwyneth dropped her and the two are having girl drama, indicates to me that Gwyneth isn’t as awful as everyone says she is. If Madonna is the one calling Tracy Anderson a fraud, well… It takes one to know one. Madonna is a huge fraud. Her story is not “rags to riches” it’s much more a “Leona Helmsy selfish batshit old woman” tale. If Madonna is the one calling Tracy Anderson a fraud, well… It takes one to know one.

  8. lucy2 says:

    You can’t tell me that if someone screwed her out of a few bucks on an album, tour, or endorsement deal, she wouldn’t catch it instantly and fight back. But millions go wasted instead of helping impoverished children her “charity” promised, and she hasn’t a clue? GMAFB.
    But hey, she got what she wanted right? Her adoption was approved, she got her photo ops and good press! So gross.
    I hope all her Hollywood buddies who donated demand their money back.

  9. Blank says:

    You know how Madonna has a couple of good songs? Well this sh!t makes it hard to listen to them.

    Philanthropy only works in your favor if you actually care.

  10. Jackson says:

    This woman is just a pig, pure and simple. Inside and out.

    You’ve got over $10million just sitting there. So build some freaking ‘normal’ small schools, fund the places, and get the kids in there. Really, it’s not that difficult. But no, you want to have this big grand structure with your name plastered all over it that would take years to build and be costly to maintain. Yeah, that really makes sense. Nice to see how much you’re helping, Madonna.

  11. Someone Else says:

    Once upon a time I looked up to this woman. I found her self-empowerment inspiring.

    Now… oh God, yuck.

  12. Lisa Turtle says:

    Madonna’s Out of Africa Phase. Fail.

    You know when Madonna says she gave $11 million of her own money, she is including all personal expenses incurred in her dealings with the nation of Malawi.

    From her legnthy, litigious, international adoptions, her legal bills could easily have reached $1 million. I won’t even speculate on the bribes she probably paid, after the government initially refused to let her adopt a child with a living parent. I’m sure she had to bribe David’s father to keep him quiet… Plus, costs of chartering private planes to fly her to and from Malawi (for photo-ops, for picking up adopted children). Plus, translators for her new toddlers. Plus costs of PR rep to combat all the negative press… Plus paying her trainer’s boyfriend… Plus ….

    I think you all see where this is going. I highly doubt that very much, if any, of Madonna’s $11M claimed expenses actually went to charity.

  13. Waldemar says:

    I am a die hard fan of Madonna but this sounds… off. And I agree Kaiser, Madonna is above all a businesswoman and NO WAY money can disappear on her watch.

    I don’t agree with the statement that she doesn’t care. She does (she always wanted to be like Ghandi), but somehow she didn’t do what had to be done. Like that NYT article said, her reputation is on the line now, she has to do something about this.

    I am disappointed, that is for sure.

  14. di butler says:

    How’s her big Mexican gym chain doing, and why hasn’t there been any news of that lately? Also, since this guy doing most of the ripping off is Tracey Anderson’s man, is this why she and Gwennie broke up?

  15. krissy says:

    I don;t get it, isn’t that illegal?

    Can you really just take people’s money for charity, spend it god knows where, and then abandon the project?

    Cause if so I am starting my own charity tonight!

  16. Madonna should have followed through on this project because it involved lots of philantropists’ money. It does make her look irresponsible not completing what she promised she would do in Malawi.

  17. The Bobster says:

    Most people don’t realize that the majority of celebrities are idiots who don’t know the first thing about handling money. She should’ve hired some professionals to do it for her.

  18. brin says:

    Doesn’t surprise me, she’s a real hypocrite.

  19. Solveig says:

    Stories like this are the reason why I suspect of every celebrity that do charitable work, and above all is the reason why I give my money only to organisations as MSF and Emergency. Not even the corrupted UN is on the list of the ones I make donations to.
    I feel sorry for mistrusting everybody who claims to be doing this and that for Malawi or Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoir and so on, because I think that at least one of those phony celebrities may be sincere and committed to the cause, but we are in the middle of unending emergencies and I can’t risk my money on something that’s not useful and safe enough for those people.

  20. samihami says:

    I don’t know how anyone could possibly be surprised by this. She is well known to be a narcissist and only started this “charity” as a PR stunt. I doubt that she ever intended to actually follow through on any of it.

    Really, criminal charges should be filed against the board of directors and probably Madonna herself. You can’t just take people’s money and then decided, “oh, nevermind. I’m not going to do that after all.”

  21. Riley says:

    Madonna is a smart person, a brilliant business woman, but she is not a very authenic person. I agree with your arguement, Kaiser, particularly your observation that she seems more inclined to be deemed as a philanthropist in the same vain as other notable celebrities more so than she actually seems to care about the people her charity is supposedly helping. Look, I am no huge fan of George Clooney (to me he is as fake as they come) but I do praise his work in Darfur because I think he has done a really good job of using his celebrity only to draw attention to the autrocities that are taking place in the country. He keeps the people of Darfur and their struggles at the forefront, not his work as a celebrity in that country. Same with Brad and Angie, especially their work in New Orleans. With Madonna it seems very different, especially the (illegal?) way in which she adopted those children. In typical Madonna fashion every photo of her in Malawi, in her long skirts and safari caps, seem to scream, “look at me! look at me! I am not in Versace or Stella on a red carpet. I am in clothes from REI, striking a pose in Africa.”

  22. spinner says:

    Madonna is Notorious for her micro-management on every single project she takes on. I find it hard to believe that this one would be any different. So many things are coming to light these days. People are being exposed for who they really are & it looks like Madonna is one of them.

  23. curmudgeon says:

    @Lucy 2
    I don’t know how old you are but remember when the whole “Stealing music online” thing started getting everyones attention? Artists were up in arms, the music business was freaking out.
    Madonna did this thing where if you tried to steal one of her songs you’d hear
    “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”
    So yes. You’re right. Don’t dare try to steal from her highness.

  24. fabgrrl says:

    I thought it was pretty obvious from the beginning that this “charity” was a front to buy those children she adopted. She was /somehow/ able to get around Malawi adoption laws and gee, lookee, all that money she gave to her charity has gone missing.

  25. Nudgie says:

    I read this story and frankly, I’m “Burning Up!” To think she would be “Causing a Commotion” with her fake philanthropy is “Borderline” criminal.

    She has taken in all these “Beautiful Strangers” with her tale of shining a “Ray of Light” on the plight of Malawi when in fact these kids don’t have, “Like, a Prayer” with this “Material Girl.”

    How can she tell us to “Open Your Heart” and “Promise to Try” and give the kids a “Secret Garden” to play in – when they show us a barren field and say “This Used to Be My Playground?”

    She can thank her “Lucky Star” her “American Life” is nothing but a “Holiday” and while she lives on “La Isla Bonita” the people of Malawi go “Deeper and Deeper” trying to “Keep It Together.”

    I hope all of you will “Express Yourself” and let this “Bad Girl” know her “Easy Ride” is over and your money is as “Frozen” as her face. We don’t want to hear another “Bedtime Story” from someone pretending to be “Like a Virgin” when it comes to charities – if you believe it, that’s just “Crazy For You!”

    “You’ll See” – she will get what’s coming to her, even from her “True Blue” fans. In another ten years everyone will look at her and say – “Who’s That Girl???”

    “Goodnight and Thank You.”

  26. hoganbcmj says:

    Ya, this is pretty disgusting on her part and she should be ashamed. The article does say she donated $11 million of her own money, though.

  27. The_Porscha says:

    @Nancy: It is not, ultimately, “all her fault,” because other people were involved and yes, she did invest some of her own money in the project.

    However, she also hired people who were fundamentally incapable of running this business, which she knew at the time. Point of reference, the director she hired, Tracy Anderson’s boyfriend or whoever, HAS NEVER RUN A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION BEFORE. Zero experience in the field, and she appointed him to be in charge. Not out of savvy, but out of selfishness and nepotism.

    No, she cannot control everyone around her, but she has an operating interest in the foundation, which means she can fire the shady people when she realizes they’re bilking poor Malawians out of millions of dollars they’d already promised. Running a corporation – even if you’re not equipped to run it daily – means that you have that power AND THAT RESPONSIBILITY. At the very least, she knows that the actions of this organization reflects on her above all, so why wasn’t she doing her due diligence and hiring someone who knew what the f they were doing? Because she didn’t care and it was never about building a school so much as looking like Mother Superior.

    This is not something one can excuse as just another celebrity being stupid. First of all, it’s criminal to defraud recipients of promised funds. Second of all, this is her nameplate of her own choosing. She made this a big issue when she went on the press rounds wanting everyone to know it was her organization and everything she was doing for the country. So she invited this speculation into its practices and policies. There is no excuse for that stupidity, especially when she’s demonstrated before that she can be a capable businesswoman. As Michael K would say, something in the milk ain’t clean.

  28. OXA says:

    If she really wanted to help she has the money to educate the entire country. Madge could have paid that $15 million out of her own pocket for Malawians. The kids do not need a friggin shrine to Madge, they need the basic tools books, pencils ect to be educated. To me she is a disgustingly selfish greedy narcissitic pig.

  29. Jane says:

    Reading this is discouraging. I am not sure if her “charity” is incorporated in the US, but if it is, any idiot knows that Uncle Sam can check the books of a non-profit at any time. I control a 501c-3 (tax talk for non-profit and they have strict rules)charitiable corporation in my job and our COO gets questions from the auditors yearly and I have to show on what, how and when the money was spent and how much was donated and given out. And my group does not control millions of dollars.

    Brad and Angelina’s groups (their joint Foundation and Make It Right), Darfur Now (George C., Brad P, Matt D, Don Cheadle and their friends), Reese W’s and other legitimate organizations have to open their books and has been shown, folks can freely get the tax records to show where and when the money was spent.

    This kind of cheating always get caught. Of course, if it was conviniently incorporatd elsewhere, this is probably why it took so long to catch on to the obvious cheating. I hate to believe this was hush money for the adoptions as that is just plain icky.

  30. bluhare says:

    Please. She set this up to buy those two children she adopted, pure and simple. She left other people to run it, because it was just a cost of doing business to her.

  31. sapphire says:

    @24, ITA.
    She attends a groundbreaking where they don’t even own land to place the symbolic brick. Then claims she is pleased with the “other work” the charity has done. What other work?

  32. Fire says:

    Nudgie – nicely done!

  33. REALIST says:

    I read the original article and re-ead what you posted from the NY Times, and it looks like Madonna DID contribute $11 million to this charity. That taken, that’s chump change for her. This was a diversion, mainly for her vanity and to extract another child from Malawi.
    I remember Madonna when she started out (she’s 4 years older than me); I was in mid-college. I was and still am in the camp that has never, ever liked her and has only admired her, in a backhanded way, for her shrewd manipulation of the press and the public-to her maximum gain, of course. She does whatever is necessary to suit her wants and needs-narcissist indeed.

  34. Anti-icon says:

    I HAD THIS GUT FEELING!!!! That Tracy Anderson has had BAD FINANCIAL press; and that is why I blow off ANYONE who associates with her — mainly Madonna and GOOP.

    Now, we see. They were ALL BENEFITTING from a HUMANITARIAN HOAX.

    God I hate them all.

  35. Overit says:

    Madonna knows where every penny is when it’s coming to her. She’d sell her soul to the devil if she thought it would garner her more money and attention. She is a self-obsessed, foul-mouthed, arrogant tyrant who mistreats staff and underlings. She derives joy out of intimidating people. Why is her behaviour acceptable to Kaballah? Their teachings certainly don’t condone it. Why is it acceptable for Kaballah to be a front for a very suspicious charity? Raising Malawi is an out-and-out scam so their government would allow Madonna to spirit away a couple of babies without following normal adoption laws. She’s trying to equate herself to the Angelina’s of the world who regularly drop millions of dollars on worthy organizations, not vanity charities that are nothing more than society cluster-f*cks. She makes me sick.

  36. the original bellaluna says:

    I wish I found it hard to believe that someone with her level of fame (whoring) and wealth would allow this to happen, especially to a charity bearing her name.

    Were it me, I would do everything in my power to make my promises come to fruition. Many, many people (including the children she professes to love so dearly) are/were counting on her.

    I guess I’m different: I was raised to let my word be my bond.

    And I call bullsh*t on her not knowing what happened to the missing money or how badly her “charity” was failing. She’s way to controlling to allow any one else to take anything but blame for her failure.

    Now, I’m heading back to HGF to have my blood pressure elevated for a better reason than Vadge’s selfishness & negligence of those to whom she made promises. Bitch.

  37. Canuck says:

    I can’t help but think that if she wanted a child that badly, she’s probably also shrewd enough to not have to pay $11 million dollars for one.

    Neilson is right about what would be more effective. The real problem in places like this is that the families will send the boys to school over the girls (if they have to choose because of lack of money).

    I will say one thing, having worked in Africa… if you have no experience with how things work there, it’s very very easy to get taken for a ride and even the big companies who regularly operate in places like this get screwed over. As for bribery… half the time you have to bribe them to actually do their jobs. Imagine doing business somewhere that you have to bribe the clerks at the phone company to get your bill so that you can pay it, because otherwise they cut your phone off two months before they normally manage to send out the bill. Or where in order to get the police out to wherever you might need them, you have to fill the tank of their car with gas.

    I’m not surprised she doesn’t own the land. The minute it was known that she was interested in it, officials in the know probably bought it up for peanuts from the locals and then jacked the price by 1000. I think she’s backed off because she’s realized that this has become the cash cow and target for a whole bunch of corrupt people and that she’s getting taken at every turn.

  38. sparkle587 says:

    Why not just spend your own damn money anyway when you have that much? $15 mil is a drop in the lake to Madonna.

  39. sparkle587 says:

    And people talk badly about the Jolie-Pitts but I happen to know that the Maddox Jolie Pitt foundation is very organized and well run with lots of talented and prestigious legal folks keeping an eye on things. This can be done well if the right people are at the helm.

  40. Gina says:

    Madonna was, is and always will be a narcissist intent on garnering the spotlight any way possible. She is very smart and street savvy but never was very talented.

    She built her career by “shocking” us with her oh-so-avant-garde escapades. Everything from who she dates, what she wears, her Sex book, videos poking fun of religion, kissing Britney Spears, masturbating at concerts, (etc., blah blah blah) is just one long publicity stunt designed to keep you talking about her. If you take all that away and judge her solely on her talent, there really isn’t much. Malawi isn’t any different. This woman could have done so much good with her fame and money but she’s wasted it making sure everyone was always looking at her.

    It must be hard to get older and worry about a new crop of autotuned stars stealing your thunder.

  41. Anti-icon says:

    The New York Times says that Madonna gave $11 million to that charity — but it offers no documentation of that claim….only Madonna’s word, which is as good as……dirt.

    Financial docs need to be examined when the press reports on financial matters. (And, I believe the reading public would like to see them as well. I know I would.)

    My issue here is that Madonna is a MUCH BIGGER fraud than the New York Times claims.

  42. Wanderlust says:

    Madonna is becoming one of the most digusting women ever. And I hate her scary look after all the work she’s had done on her face.

  43. Someone Else says:

    @Nudgie —

    Sure, say what you will about the Mighty M, but obviously you don’t know “What It Feels Like For A Girl”.


  44. the original bellaluna says:

    “Her heart is in the right place” is how the comments on the NYT story are running.

    Too bad her head, money, and choices in charity management skills aren’t.

    (I haven’t listened to any of her music – by choice – since ’97 or ’98.)

  45. jdao says:

    Oh no, I used to look up to her! 🙁

  46. Catherine says:

    I’m with @birdie all the way.

  47. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    Everything about her is fake. Her face, her religious beliefs, her charities, every thing. I don’t why anyone is surprise, or would even consider sending money to anything affiliated with her.

  48. Ron says:

    My family owns and runs a big corporation. About 15 years ago when we were in a growth situation, we hired in this fancy accountant and money manager, who we trusted and she proceeded to embezzle a shit load of money. She was very creative and none of us noticed it in the books because she had set up a dummy payable account in the name of a vendor we used regularly only with their name in a plural. She emblezzled enough money to pay off her house and buy a plane. A private plane for God’s sake! Eventually she was caught but not before everything was a mess. So, I understand, from experience, that these things can happen to even the best of people. Think about how many brillant people ie Speilberg, that Bernie Madoff bilked. Madonna should bite the bullet and reinvest the money because she has it, but stop spewing venom over something that could easily happen to any of you. Not eveyone has you best or anyone elses best interest at heart. Madonna has been very generous over the years to many differnt causes so don’t let that slip your mind either. It’s so easy to throw the stones when something bad happens. It’s sad to think that someone would take this kind of money from African orphans.

  49. Snowpea says:

    Great rant, Kaiser, thank you for taking Madge down a few.

  50. Canuck says:

    @Ron: “It’s sad to think that someone would take this kind of money from African orphans.”

    Their governments have been stealing the future of their children, grandchildren and future descendants for decades to fill their own coffers. Entire national income streams that never ever appear in the budget… personally I’ve been hoping that some of the Tunisia and Egyptian gumption might make it’s way south.

  51. wago70 says:

    It sounds like all the idiots posting here actually know how to run an organization like this. My goodness, where were all you know-it-alls when the project was starting to decline?

  52. the_blonde_one says:

    madonna has a long history of self centered/not following through. At the beginning of the height of her fame she had a stalker that was hellbent on killing her. The guy was found on her property, stalked her everywhere and was mentally ill and thought she was his wife. When the guy was finally arrested she couldn’t be bothered to be interviewed or press charges fully or even show up for court. She actually left the country in order to not testify. When asked what she would think if the guy wasn’t convicted because she didn’t testify and went on to kill someone else her answer amounted to ‘not my problem’. hated her ever since

  53. bluhare says:

    Where were we when the project started to decline? Who cares? The important question is WHERE WAS MADONNA??? Oh wait, she was opening gyms with Jesus.

  54. The_Porscha says:

    @Ron: I am sorry that your family had to go through that, but I don’t see the comparison here. For example, when you hired the woman who unfortunately bilked you out of a lot of money, she undoubtedly seemed quite capable and qualified when you hired her?

    The problem here is, a lot of the people Madonna appointed were not qualified even on paper. So it’s not like she trusted someone who was supposed to know what they were doing. She hired friends with little to no experience in the non-profit, NGO, or charitable fields to management positions and then wants to be seen as clean-handed when it unsurprisingly goes south. The issue here isn’t that the organization lost funds. It’s that the organization itself seems to have embezzled them, and that carries with it some accountability on her part, being the name, face, and chief donor of the foundation.

    What happened to you and your family was unfortunate and unavoidable. What happened with Raising Malawi was largely avoidable. This is not a Madoff situation here, with one rogue person ruining the lives of several others. There are several people from RM who are complicit in this, which at the very best implies that this was, to some degree, company practice.

  55. Madison says:

    It’s Madonna so I’m not surprised. She always seemed to care more about her public image and photo ops than really helping the malawian people. Hiring her ex trainer’s boyfriend who has no experience in running a charity in Africa or knowledge of doing business in Africa shows how idiotic she is.

  56. TXCinderella says:

    Oh man, she has got to take those chicken cutlets out of her cheeks! It just looks terrible! She looks like a caricature of herself. Age gracefully Madge please!

  57. Caz says:

    Is anyone really surprised this project isn’t happening. Madonna doesn’t actually do anything unless it directly benefits only herself. Will be interesting to see what type of person Lourdes grows up into..how much she’s been influenced by her mother or those around her.

  58. I Choose Me says:

    @Nudgie. Slow clap.

    Never liked Madonna. Respect her as an artist but as a human being she sucks!

  59. Elizabeth says:

    I would have to agree that Madonna is an astute businesswoman/control freak and it would be hard to call her blameless in this. Sadly this does appear to be a cover/ PR stunt to get her two adoptions through the system. Very sad because the need for education in that environment (Malawi) is so real!

  60. Brittney says:

    …and yet people have been trashing Angie for years for her “photo-op” charities. She puts her money where her mouth is, and what’s more, she educates herself on the issues, consistently putting herself right smack in the middle of conflict zones. That is so incredibly rare for a celebrity that most don’t believe it, perhaps, but you don’t get endorsed by the United Nations for a *decade* for BSing.

    I know this isn’t an article about Angie, but whenever Madonna’s charity or adoption come up, I have to remember the very rare public snark Angie made regarding doing things the “right way.” Madonna is the perfect example of a celebrity who wants to cash in on trends (remember how none of the ones she “started” in the 80s were hers to begin with?) to maintain her relevance. I wanted to like the woman, I really did. But come on. You’re making everyone else look bad (and depriving innocent civilians of the good fortune they were promised).

  61. Shay says:

    Madonna bought a child from this entire debacle, that’s enough for her I guess.
    This entire Kabaalist movement is such a fraud for wannabe Jews. Furthermore, this cult-like offshoot is an insult to most Jews, and only operates to increase the level of negative feeling toward Jews. By now abandoning plans for the school, people will only think in simplistic terms and associate the cancellation and fraudulent activity (to siphon money elsewhere) to Kabballah – which the bulk of Jewish people don’t even follow.
    Madonna is just another cult member celebrity; her brain has always been on holiday when it concerns social issues. Madonna is and always was a narcissist. Madonna is always for herself first.

  62. Chris says:

    Personally I don’t form opinions based on newspaper articles anymore because you never know if what you’re reading is: true, partially BS or complete BS. However what I will say is that instead of starting their own charities celebs and other rich people should just give their money to well established and reputable charitable organisations. In other words give it to people who know what they’re doing.

  63. Alise says:

    Why do people believe everything they read, i truly believe that Maddy had good intentions, this project was just way over her head, she got scammed, corrupt country,

  64. truthzbetta says:

    This is so sick. I didn’t want to think this was another of her fads for attention b/c sometimes I used to like her but it always stunk of being so.

    On Charlie Rose a real rabbi lambasted Madonna’s kabbala teacher for distorting a religion and letting a celebrity make herself the prophet to do so.

    Madonna is one of the worst. She only joined a religion where she could be the most famous and important devotee.

    Then she claims she wants to help others and its really to get Angelina press and build a school with her name slapped on it where all the money disappears for luxury items for pals.

    I think the poster above is right. “Borderline” was just her personality disorder. Scammin’ bitch. I hope there’s a special place in Hades for fake prophets who are really just shameless self promoters til the end.

  65. murekatete says:

    I work in Malawi and this is all true, and well-known by Malawians. All taxi drivers point out the land she bought on the way to Lilongwe from the airport! I think it’s fine to hold her accountable and call her out on this – celebrities can do a lot of good if their charities are well-run and funds used for their intended purpose.

  66. coconut says:

    amongst all the other weirdness, i find it strange that she wears crosses so much in light of her kabbalah activities/devotion. why no stars of david or chais??

  67. kelly says:

    I agree. This is someone with a proven record of getting what she wants, when she wants it, and not giving a shit what she has to do to get it. There is nothing anyone can say to convince me Madonna gives a shit about this foundation or Malawi, outside the fact that it was a relatively hassle-free place to secure fashionable props for her narcissistic lifestyle. If she had had a genuine will to implement better education for girls, it would happen *tomorrow*, if not yesterday. What did that Ritchie creature say about her? She’s a world class ‘actualizer’?? Yessss, I don’t doubt it for a moment. Madonna gets what Madonna wants.

    But in the end, Madonna is just another frightened old slag who wants photo op babies (both maternally and romantically- ewww!) to ease her selfish passage through an increasingly empty and desperate existence. Shameless as ever.

  68. Laszlo Woodbine says:

    Here’s what we do:
    1. Put Madonna in jail
    2. Take all her money. I mean ALL of it, don’t leave a penny. If she gripes, waterboard her until she stops.
    3. Give the money to people who need it in Malawi.
    I realize this is me advocating outright theft and violent coercion, but so what? It beats hell out of just letting narcissist nitwits do what they like when they could be pressed into service to the greater good.

  69. geekylove says:

    Kaiser, i agree with you regarding Madonna.
    All the other hings, gossip, her life choices and statements aside-this, THIS is atrocious.
    To use people who need help, to use something good (charity work, education) and then twist it around, bend it and turn it into something despicable just to get to something (malawian baby girl)….
    from now on, i really don’t understand people who’ll buy anything regarding her.
    she doesn’t deserve a cent.
    my god, one of the richest singers ever, and just that-she can’t give her own money???
    oh, and yes, totally fair and not-scientology-like-suspicious…the fact that it has to be KABALALALALALAH school. it totally doesn’t sound like christian missionaries in Africa in the colonial times.
    ugh, i’m gonna barf now.

  70. Geekylove says:

    Birdie, that comment was/is one of the best i’ve ever read on any blog anywhere! It should be posted right beside Madonna info everywhere, bc it highlits what an awful, awful human being she is.

  71. Anti-icon says:

    #68 Lazio: Love your idea. They should charge money for it….for people to PAY to come see her charged, water-boarded, put into a red jumpsuit, and sent off to jail. It’s Charlie Sheen performance art — and all the proceeds go to Malawi.

    (To make it more entertaining — there can be a microphone up front — and anyone who has been insulted/cheated/betrayed/financially duped by Her Royal Highness can come forward to testify.)

    I for one would find that way more entertaining than her music — or her fraudulent international publicity campaigns to “help” Malawi.

  72. JenJen says:

    I wonder if she let Mercy’s family that didn’t want her taken away see her.

  73. Madisyn says:

    In the first paragraph Kaiser said “crack team” “con artists”, and “grifters”, and my first thought was, Why would Madonna have the entire Lohan family run a multimillion dollar charity” HA HA

    Now on a serious note, when this first happened and Madonna wanted to adopt that second child and was promising the moon, the stars, and most importantly MONEY, I (and a lot of other people)thought she will say ANYTHING to get that kid and thats precisely what happened. What a shame!

  74. samoschner says:

    That’s very sad and disappointing to hear, especially for the children and the community that would have been helped. It doesn’t give me warm fuzzies when thinking of Madonna. But if she’s able to do something to turn this around or at least put in a lot of good effort into doing so, then I’ll give her some credit.

  75. malina says:

    Guess her brother portayed her spot on in the book.

  76. Jenn says:

    When you are asking people for donations, you have an obligation to be a good steward of their money. It would be more helpful to simply give money to the existing charities of Malawi that have established credibility and do good work in the country. I’m sure any one of the already- established girls schools in Malawi could use a few thousand dollars, let alone a few million. Imagine if she donated in that way, amongst many already-established schools. That would have made a far bigger impact and helped so many girls and their families in Malawi by now. I bet they’d even let her sit on their boards. Though she messed up, It’s admirable when people give, however they do it. But running a charity, a nonprofit, is very hard and involved work, and the long-established schools of Malawi, in fact, and no matter how poor, can run a girls school in their own country better than Madonna can.

  77. mia says:

    I wish Angelina would put one of her stiletto heels on Madonna’s neck and horsewhip Madonna’s butt.
    Shame on Madonna.

  78. ADS says:

    This follows the same tract as other exposes on Bono and Wyclef Jean and their various charitable endeavours. It would seem ‘charity’ can be used as a crafty way to look like a saint and good old fashioned tax evasion. I will never uderstand why we continue to hold these people up as role models.

  79. Jag says:

    Well, she’s officially bought her child now, hasn’t she? None of the things she was going to do to make life better for the Malawians has come to fruition, so let’s see, why would she have promised so much in order to get a child? To get the child. Disgusting. And I used to really like her.

    @ADS ~ ITA!

  80. Camille says:

    Disgusting and dodgy. I completely agree with your write up Kaiser.

    @Brittney 60#: I also agree with you.

  81. CeeCee says:

    this is appalling and shameful.
    where did all the good people go?

  82. jemshoes says:

    The BEST and most genuine kind of charity is done quietly, anonymously, without fanfare, photo ops, press releases, parties, TV interviews, etc.

  83. crazydaisy says:

    We’ll never know what Madonna would have looked like as an older woman without plastic surgery. How sad is that? LOL.

    Anyhoo, I like the pictures of her in the hat, without make-up. She looks really pretty there.

  84. Zune and iPod: Many people compare the Zune to touch, but having seen how slim and surprisingly small , light it’s, I consider it to become a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touchscreen, however the player itself feels a great deal smaller and lighter. They weigh about 2/3 just as much, and it is noticeably smaller wide and height, while being just a hair thicker.