The anti-poverty advocacy group ONE launched a new PSA Wednesday titled “The F Word: Famine is the real obscenity.” But you’ll be forgiven for thinking the video is about some other “F Word.”
The 60-second video features a broad range of celebrities and politicians advocating an end to world hunger by shouting “famine.” Video producers covered their mouths, however, and bleeped all but the initial “f” sound, leaving viewers with the impression that the stars are yelling an obscenity.
In a statement Wednesday, ONE co-founder and U2 lead singer Bono said: “More than 30,000 children have died in just 3 months. Mothers are forced to decide who to feed and who to let die. In 2011? That’s obscene.” He said public health policies can be put in place to save lives.
Former Sex and the City star Kristin Davis is also participating. “You think we’re beyond this, that we’re better organized, that we’re more caring as a world,” she said. “But something like this can still happen. And it’s shocking.”
Equally shocking, ONE landed in hot water in 2010 after The New York Post obtained tax documents showing that the group spent more than half its income on activists’ salaries — and shared less than 2 percent with anti-poverty charities.
ONE spokesperson Kathy McKiernan responded, taking issue with the Post report and telling TheDC that her employer “is not a grant-making organization. We are funded by our board and other foundations to fight extreme poverty by raising awareness and pressing governments to fund smart, effective programs.”
Celebrities involved in this new anti-famine PSA include George Clooney, Jessica Alba, Somali-born singer and poet K’naan, FOX News host and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, online publishing magnate Arianna Huffington, and former first daughters Jenna and Barbara Bush.
This article was updated to include a response from the ONE campaign.