Former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson stormed out of a football fundraiser in Marseille after 100 000 euros were earmarked for fire-damaged Notre-Dame rather than for children in the French port city.
Tuesday night’s gala, which was organised by Olympique Marseille, one of France’s most decorated football clubs, was flagged as a fundraiser for children in need.
But the decision to channel the sum (the equivalent of $112 000) to Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, which was badly damaged by a huge fire early last week, drew a swift rebuke from Anderson on Wednesday.
“Last night we attended @OM_Officiel annual Gala to help raise money for youth suffering in Marseille – full of good intentions while raising a meaningful amount of € for a great cause. Then ‘big surprise auction item’ came to raise money for rebuilding Notre Dame???” she wrote on Twitter.
“Surely the children suffering in Marseille could have used the 100 000 euros more than the church that has already received over a billion in donations by billionaires,” she railed.
“I hope they will reconsider and give to where it is needed, to the community here in Marseille where it was intended. And would go much further in making lives better.”
- ‘I was so angry’ –
The 51-year-old actress and model, who holds both US and Canadian citizenship, attended the fundraiser with her partner Adil Rami, an Olympique Marseille defender.
She also tweeted that “they raised almost twice as much money for the fabulous Bruce Springsteen guitar as they did all night for the kids. I was so angry, and disappointed. I asked Adil if we could leave. We did.” That tweet was later deleted.
Without replying directly to her remarks, Olympique Marseille said the total amount raised during the evening was 439,760 euros.
Some of France’s biggest companies and richest tycoons, including luxury goods rivals Francois-Henri Pinault and Bernard Arnault, have each pledged amounts of 100 million euros or more for Notre-Dame’s reconstruction.
Donation pledges so far have reached 850 million euros.
Four charities designated by France’s culture ministry said Wednesday they have already collected more than 400 million euros. Much of that came from wealthy philanthropists, foundations and corporations, but some 32,000 smaller donors also chipped in 4.6 million euros, including 600,000 euros from the United States.
The devastating Notre Dame blaze erupted on April 15, felling the spire, destroying two-thirds of the Gothic cathedral’s wooden roof, and leaving the entire structure in very fragile condition.
Construction of the Paris landmark began in the mid-12th century and lasted for 200 years.
President Emmanuel Macron wants it rebuilt within five years.