Celebrities have raised and donated millions of dollars to help emergency services and wildlife rescue organisations in Australia where bushfires have burned through around 15 million acres and claimed more than 20 lives.
Australian comedian Celeste Barber has now raised more than AU$32 million in just three days with a Facebook fundraiser that was shared by Natalie Portman and commented on by comedian Gary Janetti and actress Selma Blair.
More than 814,000 people have donated to her fundraiser, which was originally for the NSW Rural Fire Service but will now be spread across relief efforts in Victoria and South Australia, as well as to families of people who have lost their lives in the bushfires.
Barber shared on the fundraiser page footage of her mother-in-law Joy Robin at the Eden Wharf on the New South Wales South Coast after she was told to evacuate.
“They’ve [the government] left us high and dry so many times,” Robin said. “We pay our taxes. We’ve been abandoned.”
Singer P!nk, who is hugely popular in Australia, announced on Saturday she had donated $500,000 to firefighters.
“My heart goes out to our friends and family in Oz,” she wrote.
The next day Australian actor Nicole Kidman and husband, country singer Keith Urban, announced they were also donating AU$500,000.
Singer Lizzo, who is currently in Queensland as part of her world tour, directed her fans to donate to state fire services.
“Being over here in Australia has really given me a real time view into what’s happening with these devastating fires and for all of my followers who are mostly American, I just want to say that this is a global crisis,” Lizzo told her 7.2 million Instagram followers. “These CO2 emissions will affect the entire earth. All of our atmosphere, all of our air.”
Another American in Australia on tour, comedian Nick Kroll, started a fundraiser with actor and filmmaker Joel Edgerton.
The pair encouraged people to donate AU$5 to the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Actor Hilary Duff shared a list of organisations to which her 14.2 million Instagram followers could donate, alongside an image of a kangaroo burned to death in the fires.
“The fires in beautiful Australia are covering the entire country 14.7 million acres have burned,” Duff wrote. “That is an unfathomable number. Half a billion animals GONE. Burned alive.”
Duff said she felt guilty enjoying her honeymoon in South Africa while in Australia there were “homes burned, people displaced and unfortunately some lives lost”. Duff said she and her husband were “coming up with” a dollar figure that they were going to donate.
Australian actor Margot Robbie posted a video urging people to donate.
“Please, please if you haven’t already donated, please do and let’s give future generations the kind of childhood I was so lucky to have,” she said.
Resort heiress Paris Hilton encouraged her followers to donate to humanitarian aid charity Red Cross Australia.
Actor Russell Crowe late last year contributed AU$105,000 to firefighting services after his Coffs Harbour property was impacted by the blazes.
World number one tennis player Ash Barty will donate AU$360,000 to the Red Cross Fire appeal if she wins the Brisbane International on Monday ahead of the Australian Open.
Another Australian tennis champion, Nick Kyrgios, announced last week he would donate AU$200 for every ace he hits across all events he plays this summer.
Kyrgios then broke down talking about the bushfires.
“My home town is Canberra and we’ve got the most toxic air in the world at the moment, that’s pretty sad,” Kyrgios said. “It’s tough. Sorry.”
Singer Selena Gomez posted on Twitter that she was “absolutely devastated” by the fires in Australia.
“I’m making a donation and would love if you would consider doing the same if you can,” Gomez asked of her almost 60 million Twitter followers.
Australian DJ Flume on Monday pledged to donate $100,000 to WIRES Wildlife Rescue.
Australian YouTuber Muselk helped to raise more than $125,000 in 24 hours and a number of Twitch streamers have raised funds too.
Sydney billionaire Justin Hemmes donated $500,000 to the NSW Rural Fire Service after experiencing the fires first hand on the South Coast where he owns a home near Jervis Bay.
“The RFS water bombers and helicopters come in, and it was like angels of the sky,” Hemmes told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“These guys are heroes … they were working at least 12 hour shifts protecting us and protecting these communities and without them it would have been even more catastrophic than it is.”
Stranger Things actor Dacre Montgomery has raised more than $250,000.
Australian actor Hugh Jackman directed his fans to donate to relief services.
Australian cricket icon Shane Warne is auctioning off his baggy green cap, worn throughout his 145-match Test career, to raise money.
The leg spinner’s autographed hat was already up to AU$315,000 on Tuesday morning.
American surfer Kelly Slater expressed his “fear and devastation”.
“Hoping for safety and refuge for all my human and animal friends down under,” Slater wrote. “Feel free to put links and info to good charities and support groups in the comments below.”
Many Australian celebrities have expressed their heartbreak over the loss of life and habitat.
“My heart goes out to those who’ve lost loved ones and homes,” actress Naomi Watts wrote. “Big gratitude to the brave firemen who literally haven’t stopped during the holidays!!”
Actress Sharon Stone sent her “heartfelt prayers” alongside a message from climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders shared images of the “blood-red sky and unbreathable air in Australia”.
This status was then shared by model Kendall Kenner with despondent emojis.
As well as fundraising and donating, many celebrities have expressed their anger and frustration about government responses to the fires.
Singer Bette Middler called Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison “rotten” for not wanting to talk about climate change during the bushfires.
“Lead, you fuckwit!!” she tweeted.
Actress Jameela Jamil shared similar sentiments minus the swear words about the “unforgivable decision of leaders to not discuss climate change at this time”.
Actor Simu Liu, who stars in a Marvel movie currently being filmed in Australia, asked for donations and accused Morrison of doing “absolute dick all to help”.
“I’ve been in Australia for less than three months and the hatred for this man is as palpable as the ash in the air,” Liu wrote.
Australian actress Yael Stone posted a furious video to Instagram.
“Our country is on fire, we’ve lost 14.5 million [acres] and our prime minister has done absolutely nothing, cold calculated nothing,” the Orange Is the New Black star said. “We don’t have leaders we have cowards.”
Kim Kardashian simply tweeted: “Climate change is real”.
Australian actor Russell Crowe was not at the awards ceremony because, as presenter Jennifer Aniston told the crowd of celebrities and those watching at home, he was “at home in Australia, protecting his family from the devastating bushfires”.
Ellen DeGeneres told Australia “I love you” in her honorary award acceptance speech.
“My heart goes out to everyone who is suffering in Australia, all the animals that we’ve lost,” DeGeneres said.
Actress Patricia Arquette said in her acceptance speech the day would not be remembered for the Golden Globes but for the US–Iran tensions and “the continent of Australia on fire”.
Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge said backstage she would auction her red carpet look to help the bushfire crisis relief effort.
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