In their 2016 Year in Giving report, GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon wrote: “We’ve now reached a point in popular culture where ‘GoFundMe’ has become shorthand for help.” House burned down? Start a GoFundMe. Grandma died? Start a GoFundMe. Valued at $25 million personal net worth but want to help out a kid with cancer? Start a GoFundMe. It seems no one can fart in the wind these days without someone starting a GoFundMe for some air freshener to spray their way.
What started out in 2010 as a way to connect those in need with a helping hand has turned into a Wild West of fundraising for everything from tattoo removal to plastic surgery, $100,000 cars to luxurious vacations. No longer limited to the truly destitute, GoFundMe is now a permanent part of our culture quickly overtaking good planning, insurance, and saving up. Why get insurance when you can GoFundMe? Why save for retirement when you can GoFundMe?
GoFundMe is now ubiquitous for ‘helping’ and, in some cases, straight up e-begging. You’ve seen them all over your newsfeed; help my dog has cancer, oh no I’m getting evicted, GEEZ can I have a new car. It’s one thing when an average Joe like that guy you barely knew in high school does it, but what about celebrities?
Thankfully, truly outrageous celebrity GoFundMe campaigns are pretty rare. Not unheard of, however, which is exactly why we’re here looking at 15 shining examples of shameless celebrity e-panhandling. If anything, this should make you feel a lot better about asking your best friend to borrow $20 that one time.
15. Hot Boy Turk’s Hot Debt
Considering that he spent nine years in prison for a 2004 shootout with SWAT cops in Tennessee, it’s not all that surprising that Cash Money rapper Tab “Turk” Virgil ended up in debt. After all, it’s not like he could work. He did manage to release two albums while locked up, the royalties from which were put on his books so he could get baby oil and ramen.
He also netted an undisclosed settlement resulting from a 2015 lawsuit against Cash Money Records for unpaid royalties. By February of 2016, his wife was cyber-begging to pay his debts.
On the GoFundMe campaign titled “Help Hot Boy Turk” his wife writes that “after being away from home for almost a decade” (read: in prison) Tab found it difficult to maintain. Maintain what, exactly, isn’t clear, but she did add that he is $5 million in debt.
14. Actor Arrested For Firing Prop Gun On A Movie Set
In late 2015, Z-list comedian and actor Carlo Bellario— real name Carlo Goias— was filming a movie scene in Woodbridge, NJ which involved a car chase scene. According to his GoFundMe page, residents called police at the time to report “two guys driving around waving a gun out the window.” He was subsequently arrested for possession of a handgun when police determined the film students behind the movie did not have a permit for the “prop” gun, which was actually an Airsoft pellet gun.
Bellario requested $15,000 for legal fees, of which he came several thousand short of his goal. While out on bail, he was unable to leave the state and therefore couldn’t perform paying comedy gigs.
13. Creed Singer Asks If You Can Take His Campaign High Enough
In 2014, Creed frontman Scott Stapp wasn’t having the greatest time. His hot wife was divorcing him, he was living in a Holiday Inn, and the Internet couldn’t get enough of his maniacal, rambling Facebook uploads. Really, the best time for a musician to put out an album.
That’s when he took to Fundly to ask for $480,000 to record his third solo album and write a novel. Wait a minute, Scott Stapp had not one solo albums but two?! What is wrong with this world.
The campaign has long been removed, but it seems Stapp netted a whole $667 toward the project as far as we can tell. Additionally, someone started a Fundly campaign to stop Stapp from recording a third album; that effort raised $35.
12. Teresa Giudice Kickstarts Gia’s Singing Career
Although Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice was facing federal prison for fraud at the time, in late 2014 she took to Kickstarter to fund a music video by her daughter Gia’s awful band 3KT. The ambitious project sought $7,500 but raised just $926 from 19 backers.
It was closed on December 1st, 2014 and an update said the project was funded by two private companies “outside of Kickstarter” which were not named.
11. Bristol Palin’s Baby Daddy Drama
Calling Levi Johnston a celebrity is dubious at best, as the now 26-year-old first showed up in the media as teenage baby daddy to the daughter of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin back in 2008. Daughter Bristol and Johnston welcomed their baby boy Tripp just a month after the U.S. Presidential Election, and broke up shortly thereafter.
In the years that followed, Bristol and Levi got back together again, then broke up again, and finally moved on to marry and procreate with other people. Whew.
In July of 2016, Levi’s wife Sunny turned to GoFundMe to help pay for the “long and rather protracted legal battle” over custody of his son Tripp.
She did not waste the opportunity, throwing a not-so-subtle jab at the Palins in her plea for $10,000. “Unlike some we are not able to raise money through fundraising e-mails or SuperPACS and are instead asking for your help in paying these bills and allowing us to get back to the important job of raising our family,” she wrote. The campaign went on to raise over $12,000.
10. Tila Tequila’s Shot At Loveseat
In early 2016, Flat Earther, Nazi sympathizer, and general wackadoodle Tila Tequila took to GoFundMe to ask Internet strangers to help her meet the most noble of needs: $5,000 to “upgrade to TARGET where all the rich, nice, white people shop,” she wrote on the now-removed campaign.
She later took a serious tone in an update to the campaign and said the money would go toward moving expenses for her and her daughter. Never mind that Tila— Miss Nguyen if you’re nasty— has a net worth of $1.5 million. Anyone who has ever set foot in Target can tell you that $1.5 million doesn’t really go very far.
In true Internet fashion, the comment section of her GoFundMe let her have it. “This is ridiculous!!! You should definitely be ashamed to ask for any help,” said one poster. “Hi Tila, I suggest that you change the information on your fund. It should be changed for the intention of getting psychological help. You are clearly delusional,” typed another.
9. Octomom’s GoFundMe Debut
Listen, it is absolutely painful to even pretend as though Nadya Suleman— better known as Octomom— is a “celebrity,” unless we’re talking about her famous clown car of a uterus. She is a news-worthy figure though, and as such belongs on this list.
Way back in 2012, there was still a bit of shame associated with e-begging on GoFundMe, so it’s not that much of a shock that shameless mother of two whole litters Octomom was one of the first out of the gate bringing cyber-begging to the mainstream.
After her lame solo jerk off “porno” venture failed, her home was getting foreclosed upon so she expected the Internet to cover a $150,000 down payment on a new one. She raised at least a few thousand dollars from suckers, er, fans before the campaign was taken down.
8. Ludacris’ Baby Mama’s Custody Campaign
In mid-2015, Ludacris and mother to his then one-year-old daughter Cai Bridges were battling out custody of the child in court. When that custody was granted to Ludacris rather than the baby’s mother, mom Tamika Fuller spoke out against income disparity and inequality in custody cases involving rich, powerful fathers.
She did what any self-respecting hardworking mother would do and fired up a GoFundMe campaign, seeking $7,000 to cover some of the legal fees associated with her custody fight with a slice going to help her start a non-profit for other women in her position.
“I want to provide support for women who are pregnant and aren’t getting any help from the father of their child,” she wrote on GoFundMe. “My organization will guide low-income mothers to financial assistance as well. When this journey first started, I was only advocating for myself, now I feel compelled to provide a voice for the voiceless. I am not giving up my daughter without a fight.”
7. Rehab Fund For Bree Olson
In 2011, Bree Olson— pre-porn government name Rachel Oberlin— was living the high life (quite literally) as one half of “warlock” Charlie Sheen‘s goddess duo. You remember, tiger blood, #winning, all that.
By 2016, she’d long left Charlie, quit doing porn, moved back to her home state of Indiana, and hit GoFundMe looking for $100,000. The money, she said, would go toward a much-needed trip to rehab.
Although she was no longer actively shooting films, she was doing cam modelling at the time, and offered such goodies as 15 minute phone calls and private livestreams in exchange for donations on her GoFundMe campaign page.
6. GoFundMe Tells Lucian Piane to Sashay Away
If you’ve ever watched RuPaul’s Drag Race, you are more than familiar with Lucian Piane, “musical mentor” of the show and supposed RuPaul bestie. Perhaps that has changed since Piane went off on bizarre Twitter tantrums in late 2016, lobbing the N-word at RuPaul even.
Assuming, perhaps correctly, that his days mooching off his successful black BFF were soon over, Piane turned to GoFundMe to request $120,000 to make a “bomb ass album.” He raised all of $55 in cold hard cash, but received 100 comments on his campaign worth their weight in gold.
Among them: “Hahahahahaha hahahahahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha.”
5. Adult Film Star Fresh Out Of Prison Needs A Few Bucks
In March of 2015, Teanna Trump— real name Keanna Nichele Jones— was arrested in Oklahoma and charged with moving six pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute. The following June, she went to court and was sentenced to 180 days.
Upon her release, she dashed to GoFundMe to ask for a modest $10,000 to get back on her feet after prison. [Insert joke about working on her back here]
4. Teen Mom 3 Star Crowdfunds A Boob Job
Does anyone remember Teen Mom 3? Not to be confused with the successful Teen Mom, Teen Mom OG, and Teen Mom 2 franchises, Teen Mom 3 was the failed instalment of the MTV show featuring four new 16 & Pregnant moms. One of these gals was the pint-sized, spunky diabetic Mackenzie McKee.
A profile on the breast implant crowdfunding site MyFreeImplants purported to seek $5,000 to help mom-of-three McKee fill up her chest after nursing her kids took what little she had. It raised $50.
After being criticized by Teen Mom OG alum Farrah Abraham— no stranger to plastic surgery herself— McKee said the crowdfunding page was all a big misunderstanding and she planned to pay for her implants herself.
3. Virgil Wants To Be His Own Million Dollar Man
If you’re going to e-beg Internet strangers for money, why not beg all the way? That seems to be the reasoning behind wrestler Virgil— born Mike Jones— asking GoFundMe to make him a literal millionaire.
Best known for serving as bodyguard to Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, for some bizarre reason Virgil decided 2015 was the year to become a millionaire himself. “I will inspire you that million dollar dreams can come true,” he wrote on his GoFundMe campaign.
The comments were not kind, with one man offering to donate a fresh turd, while another wrote “I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.”
2. Bodybuilder Desperate For Help
Nicole Bass has come a long way from her days with the Extreme Championship Wrestling and her many years on the professional bodybuilding circuit throughout the 80s and 90s.
She debuted as Sable’s bodyguard at WrestleMania XV in 1999; by 2015, she was getting arrested for stealing from grocery stores and desperately begging for help on GoFundMe. “I don’t want to end up homeless and I’m being evicted,” she wrote on the campaign started in November of 2015. “I’m not just looking for handouts so if anybody wants to hire me for an appearance I am available,” she said.
1. The Game And His Big-Hearted Son
It’s really hard to call it “begging” when it’s for a good cause, but given that The Game’s net worth is estimated at $25 million, one has to wonder why he needed to start a GoFundMe at all.
The Game and his 13-year-old son Harlem started not one but two GoFundMe campaigns in 2016. The first was to benefit Little Rock, AR police officer Tommy Norman as a thank you for his work in the black community handing out toys and snacks to neighborhood kids. With a $50,000 goal, the campaign quickly surpassed that and then some.
Shortly after that successful campaign, the father/son duo was back on GoFundMe, this time raising money to help a little boy named Zachaeus in Asheville, NC who had been shot in the face on his 3rd birthday. That campaign nearly doubled its $5,000 goal.