Updated Wednesday, July 17th: Canadian social media start-up Wantster announced Wednesday it’s ending its partnership with an American charity after learning of the charity’s “questionable past,” but said it would continue to try to arrange a meeting between an ill American boy and his “hero,” singer Chris Brown. Click to read more.
“America’s worst charity” and America’s most famous woman-beater have a couple things in common — they’re both in need of image rehabilitation and they’re willing to use sick or dying kids to do it.
Wantster, a Canadian social media start-up is teaming up with Kids Wish Network and Chris Brown, hoping to bring an ill American boy and his family to one of the controversial singer’s concerts in Canada this summer.
Wantster is a new social media site that allows people to share wish lists of products they want, using a Pinterest-style interface, so friends and family can buy them as birthday and holiday gifts.
Ky Joseph, a co-founder of Wantster, got in touch with Chris Brown’s “people” and offered to help him with his charity work via the Kids Wish Network.
“There’s a young boy who is fighting a life-threatening illness, I don’t know exactly what it is, but it’s his dream to see Chris Brown and we’re going to make that happen,” she said. “Because Wantster is the place you put all the things that you want, we saw the natural tie-in.”
Wantster has offered to pay for the boy and his family to come to Canada to meet Brown in person, Joseph said.
Joseph is also the executive vice-president of sales at Evanov Communications Inc., which owns the radio stations sponsoring the Energy/Summer Rush tour Chris Brown is headlining in Winnipeg, Halifax and Toronto in August.
Joseph isn’t concerned about criticism of Brown’s participation in the tour, over of his highly publicized, brutal beating of Rihanna in 2009. Opponents have launched a 10,000-signature petition denouncing Brown and the tour has lost four sponsors, including Molson, Coors, and Rogers.
“I respect the intelligence and discretion of the public who will use its own judgment about whether or not to go to the show,” Joseph said. “My own opinion of it is he’s a phenomenal artist.
“I think that by boycotting something like this sends the message that people cannot make a mistake, cannot change and don’t deserve a second chance.”
Kids Wish Network, which is arranging for the young man to meet Brown, was recently named “The worst charity in America” by the Centre for Investigative Reporting and the Tampa Bay Times, which published a report in June about the American charities that used the least of the money they raised on the charitable cause they support.
“Every year, Kids Wish Network raises millions of dollars in donations in the name of dying children and their families. Every year, it spends less than 3 cents on the dollar helping kids,” the Centre for Investigative Reporting/Tampa Bay Times report said. “In the past decade alone, Kids Wish has channelled nearly $110 million (U.S.) donated for sick children to its corporate solicitors. An additional $4.8 million has gone to pay the charity’s founder and his own consulting firms.”
Joseph said her research about the charity found it was ethical, but added, “This money is not going to the charity, it’s going for an all-expenses paid trip for this family to go see Chris Brown and meet him in person.”