Bono slammed by AC/DC front man for his charity, attitude


Brian Johnson (above), the lead singer of AC/DC, has a bone to pick with Bono. He thinks Bono is a big fat jerk. Because Bono tries to get people to donate to charity. I think. Johnson gave an interview to the Herald Sun (story via HuffPo), and Johnson described his animosity towards Bono “some bastard” who “talks down to me that I should be thinking of some kid in Africa.” Here’s more:

AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson is taking on Bono and Bob Geldof for their public displays of charity work.

“When I was a working man I didn’t want to go to a concert for some bastard to talk down to me that I should be thinking of some kid in Africa,” he told Melbourne’s Herald Sun.

“I’m sorry mate, do it yourself, spend some of your own money and get it done. It just makes me angry. I become all tyrannical.”

Johnson said that his own band prefers to make their charitable contributions in private.
“Do a charity gig, fair enough, but not on worldwide television,” he said.

AC/DC turned down a slot at Live Aid in 1985.

“I do it myself, I don’t tell everybody I’m doing it,” Johnson said. “I don’t tell everybody they should give money – they can’t afford it.”

[From Huffington Post]

Now, here’s the thing: I do think Bono is rather douchey, and I don’t like the way he refuses to put his own money where his mouth is. His non-profit in Washington doesn’t send money to Africa – they simply take donations to further their own lobbying efforts, without Bono contributing to the upkeep. Bono also set up a tax shelter in the Netherlands – so, while he’s asking the governments of the world to contribute a percentage of their GDP to altruistic solutions for Africa, he’s taking away a substantial taxable revenue stream. I also hate the way he’s constantly taking credit for the larger solutions being worked on in Africa (debt relief, malaria, AIDS, TB, micro-financing) in interview after interview, while he should be using his advocacy to pay it forward, so to speak, and give away credit to those governments and corporations who do sign on with billions of dollars.

All that being said, I don’t really think that was the point Brian Johnson was trying to make. I think Johnson is one of those people who doesn’t think charitable contributions should ever discussed, ever? Something like that. I don’t know. As far as the whole “just shut up” argument goes, it’s weak. If you’re whole deal is donating quietly without a press release, why give an interview about how you’re donating quietly?

Brian Johnson performing on April 14, 2009 in London. Bono in London on November 30, 2009. Credit: WENN.


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55 Responses to “Bono slammed by AC/DC front man for his charity, attitude”

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  1. Lenore says:

    No, I get what he’s saying, I just think he’s saying it in an unnecessarily Rock Star Attitoody way. I mean, it’s AC/DC, you don’t expect subtlety, you know?

    But I can’t even listen to U2 anymore, and I used to love them. I don’t mind Bono or any other celebrity rich guy badgering the world to take care of the poor, the environment, the rainforest, whatever, SO LONG AS THEY LEAD BY EXAMPLE EVEN JUST A LITTLE BIT. But they never do.

    Bono is pestering the UK government – as noted in the article – to divert taxes to assist the needy, WHILE AVOIDING PAYING TAX. LIKE HE’S SHORT OF CASH. Bono, with all due respect, fuck you.


  2. clare says:

    Agree with you, Lenore. Also, did the Edge- or whatever the silly name is he calls himself- build the house in Malibu that environmentalists were against?

  3. chunkstyle says:

    I fucking LOVE ACDC and while I never thought I’d agree with such a sentiment I love the way he put this (in his rock n roll subtlety…) U2 has always been a bit whiny, nothing like ACDCs unapologetic rock n rolleration! Angus rules and has a point. If the stars would spend the money they put out on fancy gowns, awards ceremonies for themselves, and various statuettes for how awesome they are, on charity, well they probably wouldn’t have to ask us (the ones who paid livenation/ticketmaster with our last penny to see them play!!!).

  4. vic says:

    Team AC/DC

  5. meme says:

    Team AC/DC…something I never thought I’d say. Bono’s a pompous ass.

  6. snowball says:

    @clare – yep, that was The Edge (stupid name) house fiasco. I don’t know if it ever got finished, after some news reports picked up the initial story, there wasn’t any follow up.

    I get Brian’s point. Expecting headlines (probably for self-gratification) because you set up a charity, you put your face on every charity effort or you’re douchey enough to think you should automatically win the Nobel Peace prize, Time magazine’s man of the year and People’s sexiest man alive – yeah, that makes you really, really obnoxious.

    Add in that you don’t necessarily do your own part, when you’re asking everyone else to do something and you’re not interested in donating anything but your own face time, and yeah, Brian has it right.

    Bono is revoltingly arrogant.

  7. mollination says:

    AC/DC front-man?!?! Brian Johnson is a pretty recognizable name…

  8. Dingles says:

    I agree with him. When you’ve saved for months to go see a concert, you don’t want some douche who makes more money in a week than you make all year telling you what you “should” be doing with your money.
    Bono is notoriously arrogant and narcissistic when it comes to his outreach efforts, so much so that it nearly overshadows the good he does. If he cares THAT much he could probably buy Africa if he wanted.

  9. Leticia says:

    I agree with all posters above, especially Lenore! Bono has gone to great lengths to shelter his significant personal wealth from taxation, while at the same time criticizing nations for not giving more financial aid!

  10. Kaboom says:

    Bono is a sanctimonious, self-congratulatory leech on the misfortune of the weak.

  11. cedar falls says:

    Amen sisters!! I do occasional fundraising for a UK cancer charity and I have far more respect for the little old lady who cobbles together a few coppers from her meagre pension to contribute to the less fortunate than I ever will for Bono, the self-aggrandising ****. And that was even before tax-evasion-gate.

    Maybe if, for the next $100m-netting tour, U2 shut the hell up, played music and then contributed all the profits to good causes, I might change my mind…

  12. Alarmjaguar says:

    Yep, this does remind one of the widow’s mite story…I’m happy that Bono has brought attention to the problems out there, but the tax shelter is really hypocritical.

  13. Peach says:

    I’m all for giving what you can. Micro-loans, Red Cross, Doctors without Boarders. It’s all good.

    But I’d never in a hundred years give to a Bono-Charity. When I see him posing with kids in Africa and holding infants with distended bellies I cannot help but think it’s just poverty porn.

    Plenty of people actually take the time to feed starving children, and they don’t get their name in lights, they don’t get their pictures taken. These are the people I look up to.

    I honestly believe if people are THAT condescending about charity: fine. But live on modest means. Live like your average upper middle class human. It’s a fine life. Get a two story home in a nice neighborhood. Buy your furniture at medium-priced stores. Wear department store labels. Get your douchey blue glasses at Target and donate the rest.

    Or, as ACDC put it, shut the fuck up about it.

  14. masonwasp says:

    I don’t have any problem with celebrities using their charitable giving as PR – as long as the money gets spent responsibly. This is part of the trend of celebrities admonishing the general public to give vast sums of money without any clue as to where exactly the money is going.

    I’ve been offended about the huge marketing campaign that Red Cross has undertaken for the Haiti earthquake. People are giving to an organization that has been investigated – twice – for misuse of funds.

    As someone who works in non-profits, I suspect that the Red Cross is looking at the Haiti disaster as a much-welcome cash cow (non-profits in the US are facing a record-number of budget deficits this year.)

    Regardless, my point is that people need to research their charities. Where is that money going specifically? Don’t rely on branding or celebrity marketing. Your biggest bang for your buck is generally your smaller, local organization. They really need your help right now.

  15. dizzybenny says:

    I’ve said it once and i’ll continue to say it still,if the Bono of 1984 met the Bono of today,he would kick the living heck out of him.

  16. Dromedary says:

    It seems very hypocritical to me that U2 is using 120 trucks to move their stage from show to show on their current concert tour. I know this is an environmental issue, but still in the “make the word a better place” persona that Bono tries to exhibit.

    That’s one hundred and twenty trucks of crap for a single concert… wtf????

  17. snapdragon says:

    dear bono,
    i live a low-impact lifestyle, i recycle, i adopted my dogs from shelters, sponsor a girl in guatamala, work for a non-profit cancer organization, volunteer at a food bank, and give money to doctors w/o borders. there are many other americans who do the same. unlike you, we are not famous or rich, and we do not pontificate every chance we get. maybe you should do the same.
    and the rest of america

  18. Mindrew says:

    Go Brian Johnson!!! If the celebs of the world wish to donate, that is all well and good. But we don’t need to know… most celebs do it ONLY for the publicity, so they’ll all look so freaking wonderful in our eyes. I didn’t watch the Hope for Haiti telethon, mainly because I get seriously pissed off that there were folks there that were answering phones.. INSTEAD of going into their own pockets. You know… if every one of the stars that showed there had dipped into their own fortunes and gave 1 million (considering MOST of them made more last year than most of us will see in our lifetimes).. they would have EXCEEDED the money raised – without preaching to us all. THEY can afford it.. most of us CAN’T… but they expect everyone to help.

  19. ganjagirl says:

    he is right on

  20. irishserra says:

    Surprise! Bono and the band gave up artistic integrity long ago…one move cedes to another…I’ve lost so much respect for these guys over the past decade.

  21. andrea says:

    i dont think he gave an interview to say this, i think he was probably asked “so, how about that bono?” and this was his response.

  22. UrbanRube says:

    Kaiser, U2 and Bono do donate to charities quite heavily, but they do it anonymously. This is from the Guardian in the UK: “U2’s donations to aid organisations have always remained anonymous, although the royalties from several of their songs have been given to charities.”

  23. GatsbyGal says:

    It’s about time another big-name musician put Bono in his place. Bono’s pretty much a terrible person. He’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars (maybe billions?), and if he really cares that deeply about the plight of Africa, maybe he should give them all his money. I mean, how much do all of his stupid sunglasses cost? They’re probably like a thousand bucks a pop. He’s exactly like Madonna, all imagine with no substance.

  24. Persistent Cat says:

    First of all, AC/DC sucks. Balls.

    Secondly, Bono does a lot, he brings a lot of visibility to the things he supports and tirelessy lobbies world leaders to do more.

    Thirdly, The Edge is named based on his playing style. And have you seen It Might Get Loud? He’s funny.

    And lastly, because it needs repeating, AC/DC sucks. Balls.

  25. tooey says:

    I’ve thought this same very uncharitable thought, lol. All the Haiti concerts and crap and talk about how stars donate their “time” and their “talent”. That’s all well and good but I’d really like to know what they’re donating in good old DOLLARS. If every celeb that participated in the Haiti telethon and We Are the World crapfest dontated .001% of their net worth, problem solved….

  26. You Go Girl says:

    Team AC/DC. Well said, that’s why you have the worldwide, loyal following you have. The oldest band that still produces #1’s worldwide on a regular basis.
    What he’s said is so true.
    Hell Michael Hutchence killed himself over Satan (Sir) Bob Geldorf as he called him. Look at his girls, Peaches, etc too. These guys don’t give a damn about their own, it’s all ego and plastering their face everywhere they can. They cannot solve Africa, the united nations wants to keep the poor countries poor, it’s all ascam people. Use your $ to help someone you know, you’ll see immediate results. Stop giving to these corrupt charities, virtually nothing gets to the people in need. Red Cross, World Vision etc are amongst the most corrupt and sinister organisations in the world.
    AC/DC rock on! Asutralia loves you x

  27. Gymo says:

    Seems people on this Blog have gone crazy or y’all lack the quality called “goodness”.
    Bono, is a true Rock Star,not some dumb idiot like over the hill AC/DC Johnson who can only get print if he uses Bono’s name.

    One day your a** might be living under a bridge and would love if there was someone like Bono pleading your case.

  28. yae says:

    Gatsby Gal, well said.

    I’m going to add Brangelina to that group.

    What is frightening about Brad, Angelina, Bono and Madonna is they all get more stuck-up and poo-pooish, of the general public (the working class).

    Just like the aristocratic rich, they seem to think it’s the workng man’s job to pay for the world, when in reality the elite wealthy own 90% of the world’s wealth.
    Its the wealthy’s job to pay for this problem, not the working “slave”.
    Such a con-job. Makes me ill.

  29. You Go Girl says:

    Irishserra; Gatsbygal, spot on gals.
    Nice to see thinkers, truth seekers out there and not just sheep.
    Persistent Cat;
    Get a vet check, you have a lot of reading to do girl, clueless on so amny things. Your not alone though, many people like you around.
    U2 sold their souls for $$$ long ago. They have betrayed everything they set out to do. They are rewarded very handsomley to be the face of whatever they need to be, for the powers to be. So if they donate, it’s only whoring money anyway. They are controlled and are mere prostitutes in the big scheme of things. Their concert in Adelaide was just TERRIBLE! AC/DC as usual sold out in minutes all over Australia. They are their own, they are not owned like bitches. They think and speak for themselves, not some alternate agenda. Respect to AC/DC.

  30. Gymo says:

    Of these two, history will see one as a drug addled idiot, and the other as a great humanitarian.

    Noblesse Oblige

  31. Gymo says:

    Why are you folks such mindless Lemmings, somebody says something stupid and you are ready to follow them off a cliff?

    Whatever happened to “critical thinking”?
    Whatever happened to “independent thinking”?
    Instead we have group think, group speak=Group stupidity

  32. You Go Girl says:

    Gymo; it’s a case of baa baa baa baa, that’s what sheep are good at matey.
    Your not allowed to have your own opinion and god forbid think out of line with the others.

  33. Ruffian9 says:


  34. snapdragon says:

    “One day your a** might be living under a bridge and would love if there was someone like Bono pleading your case.”

    gymo, if i were living under a bridge i think i’d rather bono gave me a damn job instead of “pleading my case.” microfinancing, not telethons, is what will end poverty in developing areas like africa. evidently you buy into the idea of bono saving the world…kind of like a lemming. if you really want to employ some “critical thinking” maybe you should try reading some books about how africa came to be so poor; a great one is called “dead aid” and was written by an african economist.

  35. Ruffian9 says:

    Peach, don’t ever stop posting.

  36. Ruffian9 says:

    Gymo, buy a clue. Better yet, read what Snapdragon wrote. Also, don’t capitalize lemmings, it’s annoying.

  37. Bete says:

    Gymo, if Bono was such a humanitarian, then why does U2 avoid paying taxes in Great Britain? Taxes are gathered by governments so citizens can have social services, like the National Health Service, but Bono and his band buddies think they’re beyond taxes and are essentially tax exiles. But for his public persona, Bono’s PR team facilitates enough headlines to make him a saint. A saint for whom?
    Even Bob Geldof. It’s a fact that the bulk of the funds raised for LiveAid were eventually recouped by dictators who funneled funds from the sale of food products to Swiss bank accounts.
    Bono only pleads cases that coincide the the release of new U2 albums that become crappier by the year.
    There are celebrities who don’t have to use their donation to drum up their own publicity and they’re the decent ones. The remainder are simply media whores, who’ll use people in pain to elevate their profile. It’s shameful.

  38. You Go Girl says:

    Snapdragon, i will read that book, thanks for the recomendation. It’ll be easy access as I work in a library. You can see some people know nothing and everything they think they know, is wrong.
    I was a teenager when the 80’s Live Aid concerts were around.
    Nothing has changed in Africa people, in 30 years, nothing has changed. Where does all that money go?
    I look for a $2 dollar coin if I lose it down the back of the couch. These mongrels defraud the common man and don’t have answers for billions that go missing and that’s all o.k.

  39. Kelaa Khaa says:

    All I can say is I love this site and the comments!!!

  40. Jenna says:

    Ahhhh, this is great.

  41. yae says:

    Gymo, history is written by liars.

    Truth is handed down to children by candlelight.

    Didn’t the Dark-Ages teach you that?

    How many Dark Ages must we have before the ruling class realize that they were wrong MOST of the time? And how many wars, starvation epidemics, and forced plagues will it take them to say “Maybe we should stop using humans like animals”?

    Bono is a farmer. A human farmer. Misery is his industry. As are the rest of those like him.
    Include Madonna, Angelina and Brad in that equation.

  42. You Go Girl says:

    yay for yae!
    yay for ruffian!
    yay for snapdragon!
    people that read and not believe the horse shit that is spread through mainstream media

  43. Leek says:

    Totally team AC/DC! That also reminded me…weren’t there pictures of Bono on a boat with some young girls in bikinis last year? I could have sworn they were out and no one made a peep about them. I was so excited for the destruction of St. Bono and it just kind of fizzled.

  44. Ben says:

    Am I the only one that sees the hypocrisy in these comments.
    One one hand you have people criticising celebrity’s who donate money publicly and who try to encourage other people to donate too and self-serving narcissists doing it for the PR.
    One the other hand you’re criticising celebrities for not donating which is mostly based on the fact you don’t know if they do probably because many do it in private.
    What a double edged sword.

    Another example, you complain that the rich celebrities try to get others to donate saying that you can’t afford it and they can being millionares, therefore they should pay most of it.
    And then you also (still complaining) say that they wrongly expect you to pay for it and that it’s everyones responsibility equally(although above it’s contradicting it saying the rich should pay).

    I don’t side with celebrities and I certainly don’t worship them but the general hypocrisy that comes from people who discuss celebrities baffles me people I think of most people as being reasonable.

  45. gobo says:

    Hey Gymo; Lemmings don’t follow eachother off cliffs. It’s a myth. Anyway, in Ireland (where I live) Bono has been viewed with contempt for his arrogance, ego and hypocrisy for more than a decade. Bono tells our government to spend money on development assistance charities ( we do, we donate approx .5 percent of our Gross National Income per year) while at the same time benefitting from a policy whereby we did not tax artists. this in itself is not so bad. But when this policy was changed so that artists with high incomes would be taxed guess what Bono did? Effed off to a tax haven. Hypocrite.

  46. yae says:


    Who creates the wars that make these regions starvation pits and cesspools of disease & misery?

    It is not the working American people. It is a handful of uber-rich people who own 90% of the worlds wealth.

    Then those SAME people make $$ off the “charities” too. And they make sure nothing gets solved.

    They profit from the wars, they profit from the “rescue”.

    And the working man pays for EVERYTHING through tax and donation.

    It’s a sick business.

  47. Ursula says:

    We all know that these days charity is about PR and self aggrandizement, actually agents do tell their clients to do charity for PR reasons. I find that so cynical.

    I am on team Brian for obvious reasons, I hate celebrities who tell me to use bio degradable soap then hop onto their private jet for a joy ride.

  48. Kim says:

    Love both groups. I think musicians should have charity booths at their concerts where people can get info and donate if they want but not mention it while onstage. I do hate when celebs use their air time to rant about this cause or that. Most of us do what we can and dont need filthy rich celebs making us feel bad that we cant give more. I think true charitable people are people like Brian who do it but dont advertise “Hey look how charitable I am” like Bono. I think this is what he is trying to say not that people shouldnt be charitable but that celebs dont need to publicly show how “God” like they are because they give. They should give – They make outrageous sums of money. But again we dont need celebs advertising what they donate for attention and to look like good people. Just do it from your heart and not for attention is what Brian was trying o say.

  49. Kim says:

    Ursula – so true. How many celes espouse they are so good to the environment: Leo, Cameron, Julia but live in huge houses that use tons of electricity, energy etc. or fly around in private jets and dont even get me started on the energy (camera, lights etc) it takes to film a tv show or movie!

  50. Ben says:

    yae you do realise that many people when you say the the rich own 90% of the world’s wealth many people who you think of as working class in the rich western world are infact apart of that rich ground that owns most of the worlds wealth. Compared the the extreme poverty which half this world lives in and what charities are trying to address you yourself are most likely uber-rich.
    And don’t feed me meaningless rhetoric of the elite profit from war, blah, blah, blah. Because that has nothing to do with the what we’re tlaking about. Bono and the people being criticised in this topic are not war profitees.
    The ‘rich’ are not some single minded group they’re different people with different revenue streams and not apart of some big club.

    So you’re saying, when you imply that charities are just a money-making scheme that when my sister went and worked as a doctor for a year with doctors without borders – she didn’t help anyone, or because the problem of world poverty wasn’t solved it was a waste. Or that the donations that paid for her and the medical supplies to do this great work were simply part of some puppet scheme to syphon off money for the war profiteers.

    I suppose I’m still wrong though and I’m just blinded by the lies of ‘mainstream media’ and need to find the ‘truth’.

  51. Ben says:

    And saying the working man pays for everything that is simply bullshit.

    Taken from wikipedia regarding wealth distribution
    In 2003, the 1% with the highest income paid more than 34% of the nation’s federal income tax; the 10% with the highest income paid nearly 66% of the total income tax; the top 25% paid 84% of the income taxes; and the upper 50% accounted for nearly 97% of US income tax revenue.[15]
    In 2007 the top 1% paid 40% of feral income tax.
    And before you criticise me for wikipedia, that fact has a a footnote which can take you the the organisations website with the chart so it isn’t made-up rubbish as you like to sprout (it seems at least).

    I’m not saying the rich don’t get off too easy, but take your working class blues to the Bruce Springstein fan site.

  52. Jon says:

    Get off your high horse, Bono. Team AC/DC!

  53. LostOcean says:

    I HATE AC/DC, first off.

    but Brian Johnson is so damn right about this. I could go on and on about this, but I won’t. All I’ll say for now is that I totally and whole-heartedly agree with him.

  54. MooMoo says:

    Ben, isn’t that relative though? Say Angelina Jolie gave her entire paycheck from 4 months work on a movie, ($24,000,000), that would be many times what I, (most bloody likely), will ever see in this lifetime! And she’s only loaded in terms of her profession.

    Anyway, I don’t care what celebs do as long as they’re honest and put their money where their mouth is, but how can you know really apart from trying to be a good judge of character. I think they’re all sincere enough but some are unwilling to part with their yachts.

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