Thursday, March 08, 2007

boo on bono

This was in today's Popbitch. I thought is was interesting enough to share.

>> Re-branding Bono <<
Charity doesn't always begin at home


Vanity Fair have invited "pop-humanitarian" Bono to be guest editor of the July issue, to try and "rebrand Africa". Some magazines have been sharing some other facts about Bono:
* In the year since it was founded, his Red campaign (licensed to Gap, Motorola, Apple etc) has raised $18 million - but companies have spent $100 million to market it.
* Bono doesn't invest his own money in Red.
* Apple sells a Special Edition U2 iPod. Its profits are not donated to Red.
* U2 made $389m from the recent Vertigo tour. Its revenue was then funnelled through companies mostly registered in Ireland and structured to minimize taxes.
* U2 moved its music publishing company to the Netherlands from Ireland in June 2006, six months before Ireland ended a tax exemption on musicians' royalty income.
* Richard Murphy, adviser to lobbying group the Tax Justice Network, says "This is somebody who's exceptionally rich taking the opportunity to shift his tax burden to somebody else, but then asking governments around the world to spend that tax take in the way that he would like."

More on this:
http://tinyurl.com/2ssocz
http://adage.com/article?article_id=115287

12 Comments:

Blogger Daryl said...

Wow, interesting facts. It always bothers me when Bono marches into town and tells our Prime Minister what to do. It becomes a big press event for a day, then the story dies.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

let's be careful here kids.

the problem with that campaign is its ties with corporate america. no one is knocking apple/gap/motorola here...just bono. why aren't we discussing those companies' role in all of this? where is the call for an apple/gap/motorola ban? (sure, they want to criticize..but don't dare want to do/say anything that might affect their own precious ipod/shirt/cellphone)

at least bono is spending his time out there trying to do SOMETHING. what the phuck have those unnamed magazines who are knocking his efforts been doing to help?

it's a total douchebag move to belittle someone's charity work when they aren't doing any themselves. until those unnamed magazines raise $18 million dollars, they need to lay off the bono.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

I agree with anonymous' first paragraph. It's not fair to focus all of ire at Bono, love him or hate him, he's just one part of this. My problem has more to do with the fact that people have been jumping all over Bono for how U2 is spending its money. I hate to be all practical-like, but Bono is not U2. The control of U2, and its subsidiaries are pretty evenly split between the four band members and manager. And then you have to take into consideration all the people who are employed by them. Even if Bono wanted to put all of his profits from, say the U2 iPod, to debt relief in Africa, there's still four other people who have to decide where their money's going. Now, I'm not saying that the rest of them don't donate money, many of them do, and Edge has even founded Music Rising to help people in the Gulf Coast recover from Katrina, but I'm pointing out that when people focus on the money U2 has made, and then use that as their argument for why Bono isn't as great as he says he is, it's a bit like comparing apples to oranges. Yes, Bono is flawed. He's human. He has many mansions all over the world. But I think what he's doing is a step in the right direction. I understand he's the type of person who polarizes people. You either love him, or think he's a daft, arrogant fool, but it's unfair to use decisions that are not wholly his against him. Yes, I'm sure he has just as much of a say as any of the others, but there's just as much chance he disagreed with the decision as he did go right along with it. Calling him out on not investing his own money in (Red), fine, but blaming Bono for how the corporation that is U2 manages its money just isn't really right.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous the irish culchie said...

FYI:about the whole irish tax thing:

This was started in the 80's by the then Irish Prime Minister Charlie Haughey.
The same Charlie Haughey who took millions in bribes.

People in rich positions will always try and show they have a charitable side, but arent willing to give any of their own money, when theres a chance to boost their ego.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

holla! xo boadwee

9:07 PM  
Blogger Sharpless said...

Right on, Kat and anonymous. Bono does a hell of a lot more than most people, and it's obvious that he's genuine about it or else he wouldn't be exerting so much energy for it, all these years. (It's not like he's ever needed the extra publicity.) There's bound to be some failures and unfortunate occurances along the way. The man isn't perfect, but most people really need to pull their heads out of their asses and give the man the credit he deserves, instead of trashing him left and right. Yes, I'm talking to you, hipster community!

Also, what's wrong with trying to avoid paying too many taxes? Sounds financially smart to me.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous jason said...

RED has raised $25m, actually and that is five times the amount given to the Global Fund by the private sector over the previous four years.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Rock Snob said...

Chill peoples. I just said it was "interesting".

10:01 PM  
Anonymous guante moorland said...

weak smear attempt at bono by popbitch. anyone not trying to minimize the amount of tax they pay is foolish...all wealthy (and many non-wealthy) individuals and corporations try to pay the least amount of tax possible. big nytimes article within past couple months about many wealthy peeps worldwide moving funds to the netherlands to take advantage of easy tax laws. that's not about bono or U2, that's shopping for the best return on your $$. this post is naive to paint it otherwise. if there's a problem there, it's global, not about bono.

saying that bono doesn't invest his own $$ in red, and that the special edition U2 ipod revenues don't go to red, are largely irrelevant. how much of his own time, energy and wealth does bono give to humanitarian causes? how much does the poster of this weak piece from popbitch give? how much do you, reading this, give?

i happen to think bono's a prig, but most people are selfish as hell with their resources. he seems an unfair target of unclean media parasites.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its not the fact that U2 structures their business to pay less taxes that is the problem, its that U2 does this while Bono, at the same time, urges more aid to Africa. Aid to Africa comes from taxes, and depriving a country of tax revenues which could then be used for that aid is hypocritical.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

U2 pushes all the right emotional buttons of the mainstream with their broadly targeted, radio-friendly, thematically simplistic, lyrically generic europop/quasipolitical music which was only made after enlisting the aid of the best producers in the industry - men who have worked the asses off to perfect the development of music and sound as an artform. So after selling out with the aid of the operative words and ideas that inspire everyone's sense of heroism and rebellion I think they owe it to yin and yang or karma if you will to put their money where their mouth is or at least just shut the hell up and spare us the holier than thou art and the hypocrisy.

3:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe Bono actually enjoys his charity work - in fact its not work at all but something of a hobby.

So yes he does spend a lot of time on his hobby and gets massive ego boosts and awards for doing so.

However his massive personal wealth he largely keeps to himself.

9:51 AM  

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