Kvetching Over Madonna's Magnanimity
Is Madonna's idea of a mitzvah completely meshuggah? A rep for the red string-wearing pop icon is firing back at FoxNews.com's recent claims that she "conned" Gucci and UNICEF USA into participating in a fundraiser designed to fill the coffers of the Kabbalah organization.
Seems the luxury fashion firm is tossing a star-crammed soiree next month -- Sarah Jessica Parker and Salma Hayek will reportedly co-host -- to benefit both UNICEF and Madonna's Raising Malawi charity, which FOXNews labeled "a front" for the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles.
"I think that the claims in the story are outrageous, they are incorrect, inaccurate, hurtful and malicious," Madonna's watchdog rep Liz Rosenberg rails to Women's Wear Daily. "The Raising Malawi organization is completely separate from the Kabbalah [Centre], and they are run as two separate organizations."
Raising Malawi, which bills itself as helping children of the poor African nation rise from "poverty to prosperity, sickness into health, powerlessness into self-empowerment" and is prominently featured on the front page of the Kabbalah Centre's Web site, is also accused of having an ulterior motive in its altruism, namely, "indoctrinating unsuspecting Malawi orphans into their brand of mysticism."
"And over there is where Mommy's assistants keeps her Kabbalah water precisely at room temperature... Or else."
Madonna's mouthpiece also brands this charge a load of hooey, insisting, "There are no religious lessons being taught to the children of Malawi." (Well, save perhaps for David Banda, who joined the up-with-Kabbalah Madonna-Ritchie clan in 2006.)
What's more, says the fervent flack, her supposedly Kabbalah water quaffing client is a total mensch.
"It's tragic, because Madonna has put her passion and love and money behind a project that is saving children's lives, giving them food, health care and schooling," maintains Rosenberg. "The money that is being raised at the Gucci benefit is being divided between UNICEF and Raising Malawi."
Gucci, for its part, denies it has been played for a schnook.
"The accusations are not true," the design house defends to WWD. "Proceeds from this event are specifically allocated to support programs for orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS, including the building of a girls academy in Malawi."