An effort by musicians to help Ebola-striken countries is being called "tone deaf" and getting soundly trashed on Twitter.
Music industry heavyweights including Bono, Chris Martin, One Direction, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Ellie Goulding recorded a new version of the celebrity super group fundraising song, "Do They Know It's Christmas," to help fight Ebola.
The pop single is getting skewered as politically questionable and "perpetuating stereotypes" since its release Monday morning
Predictably tone deaf Bob Geldof led Band Aid campaign to fight ebola in #Africa http://t.co/cFq2HyKWoL via @t_mcconnell @ali_m_martin— Antony Loewenstein (@Antony Loewenstein)1415687810.0
So the message from #BandAid30 is that if you see someone suffering from Ebola, just let them know it's Christmas time That'll cheer them up— Ryan Cullen (@Ryan Cullen)1416236793.0
Even leaving aside the possibly dubious politics of the thing, #BandAid30 is utterly horrible. Horrid homogeneous singing. Worse than '89.— Graham Butler (@Graham Butler)1416236956.0
Nevertheless, musician and activist Bob Geldof, who organized the Band Aid 30 effort, told the BBC that sales for the single have already surpassed his expectations.
"From what we've seen from iTunes it's gone bonkers," Geldof said. "Within four or five minutes, we had a million quid."
Writing at Medium Medium, Ben Keene called the effort "admirable" but said the group of celebrities misses a big point about development in Africa.
"Yes, I can confirm that Christmas has reached West Africa. Even in Sierra Leone. The large Christian populations of the region have made that a reality. … [T]his is the crux of the issue with ‘charity singles’. The clue is in the title — Band Aid 30. This is not about the people who are fighting ebola in their communities. This is about a pop-campaign turning 30 whilst reinforcing the sweeping negative stereotype that Africa is a mess."
Others on Twitter agreed that a pop song may not be the best way to support the communities stricken by Ebola.
Once again, Bob Geldof and ignorant non-Africans succeed at perpetuating ignorant stereotypes. STOP IT! #BandAid30 http://t.co/Gg1ROGf9NJ— Michael Kirkpatrick 🌍 (@Michael Kirkpatrick 🌍)1416237850.0
I will pay for people to stop singing that song #bandaid30— John Moore (@John Moore)1416234601.0
Though this is the third time superstars like Bono have participated in the fundraiser, some artists opted out of the star-studded event. British rapper Fuse ODG tweeted that Geldof approached him to participate but that "upon reciving the proposed lyrics … I felt the message of the Band Aid 30 song was not in line with the message of The New Africa Movement."
Meanwhile, a representative for singer Adele denied that the Grammy winner snubbed a request to appear on the song, telling the Guardian newspaper that she chose to support the relief effort "with a donation."
The new song marks the 30th anniversary of Geldof's effort to support Ethiopian famine relief in 1984. The original effort raised more than $12 million, and subsequent recordings have also topped the charts and raised millions in funds for international relief efforts.
"We really can stop this... foul little plague," Geldof told the BBC, insisting that "100 percent" of the proceeds for the 2014 version of the song will go toward Ebola relief.
The song did generate some supportive tweets among the throngs of negative mentions.
Nothing beats the original but buy the song & stop the virus, anyway! #BandAid30 https://t.co/qOuatU5ldm http://t.co/CFRBAxxUrc— Allison | The Book Wheel (@Allison | The Book Wheel)1416237852.0
What do you think — are celebrity efforts like this a good way to raise money for charitable causes? Or are they just window-dressing in the face of real need?