Charities suffer #MeToo fallout

The Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation is having trouble raising money for charity because its famous co-founder, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, has been accused by several women of rape.
The Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation is having trouble raising money for charity because its famous co-founder, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, has been accused by several women of rape.PHOTO: REUTERS

ATLANTA (NYTimes) - The Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation has helped pay for art and dance classes for thousands of children.

But for the first time ever, it is having trouble raising money because its famous co-founder, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, has been accused by several women of rape.

The charity's officials said they may have to end operations in New York, where most of their work is focused.

"It is a shame that there are those who can't separate accusations against the co-founder from both the good work that the organisation does and from the children who need us," said Mr Richard Slomovitz, the foundation's treasurer.

The Kevin Spacey Foundation mentored and trained young performers until several young actors accused the actor of sexual misconduct. At the end of February, the charity announced it was shutting down after trustees deemed it "no longer viable".

The #MeToo movement has brought down many powerful men. Now the collateral damage is becoming clear, as philanthropic efforts that relied on these figures' celebrity have been derailed or forced to retool.

Since October, when revelations about producer Harvey Weinstein unleashed accusations against other men, organisations have rapidly distanced and denounced their now-unsavoury benefactors, in an effort to keep the rest of their donors from fleeing.

Though the money might be sorely needed, "the downside to accepting the dollars is potentially alienating other donors", said Ms Melanie Ulle, a veteran philanthropy consultant.

The #MeToo fallout has deprived other organisations of star power.

The Fistula Foundation, which pays for treatment of obstetric fistula, a child-birth injury that women suffer mostly in developing countries, has received support on multiple occasions from comedian Louis C.K.

Now, he is no longer a public advocate for the foundation, having admitted to engaging in sexual misconduct in the fall.