Brad and Angelina are the reigning King and Queen of Celebrity Charity. Angelina is a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, and the pair has traveled the world trying to bring relief to the neediest. According to tax records, the couple donated more than $8 million to charity in 2006 alone.
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Oprah Winfrey has invested $40 million in her Academy for Girls in South Africa and raised over $58.3 million for various non-profits through her Oprah's Angel Network. Plus, she's given cars, hams, toasters, etc. to underprivileged audience members on her show.
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She gives no mercy on the bench, but famously nasty-on-TV Judge Judy Sheindlin is much more charitable in real life. She supports a mentoring program called Her Honor, which pairs high school juniors and students with dynamic female leaders.
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Paris Hilton is charitable... in theory. After her brief her prison stay, Paris Hilton announced she was traveling to on a philanthropic mission to Rwanda. Her inability to follow through made her less giving than some of her celebrity pals.
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George Clooney, who goes to United Way board meetings, traveled to Darfur and then headlined the Save Darfur rally in 2006. Clooney is a co-founder of Not On Our Watch, took part in the America: A Tribute to Heroes charity telethon for victims of 9/11... and he takes care of his own, too. He donated $25,000 to writers during the 2007 strike in Hollywood.
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Hurricane Katrina rallied many celebrities; Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis joined Habitat for Humanity's rebuilding efforts in their hometown of New Orleans.
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Bob Geldof was one of the first to leverage fame in the name of charity by founding LiveAid, Live 8, and the Commission for Africa. He received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his charitable work in 1986.
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Madonna, with daughter Lourdes, visited a U.N. Millennium village in Malawi and funded several projects. But the controversy surrounding her adopting of local boy David Banda made her goodwill a little fishy.
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Irish musician Bono speaks in front of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Liberia's President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at a plenary entitled 'Delivering the Promise of Africa.' Bono has been instrumental in raising awareness of global poverty and the AIDS epidemic with his ONE and Product Red campaigns.
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Daryl Hannah was removed from a walnut tree in 2006 while protesting the demolition of a 14-acre urban garden in Los Angeles.
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In a bit of irony, no one was more upset that Guns n' Roses fans had to wait than Axl Rose himself. The main portion of Axl's lawsuit alleges that Dr. Pepper flubbed the giveaway, calling it an, "unmitigated disaster," but the suit isn't just looking out for the rights of American consumers. GnR is also seeking compensation for the use of their reputation in connection with the promotion.
This isn't the first time a musician has asked for compensation after a company used their name in a promotion without permission. Earlier this year 50 Cent sued Taco Bell after they sent a letter to the media requesting he change his to 79 cent, 89 cent or 99 cent to promote their new value menu pricing in exchange for a charitable donation. For their unauthorized use of his reputation, 50 Cent asked for $4 million from Taco Bell.
Thankfully Axl's altruistic side seems to be shining through this holiday season. Rather than asking for gobs of cash, GnR are asking for full page apologies in four newspapers and a longer redemption period for the free drink coupons. Dr Pepper has already responded, saying that the promotion was meant to be fun and defending the steps they took to meet the incredible demand for coupons.
While the full page apology request is laudable, the lawsuit seems to be a successful attempt by Axl and GnR to take advantage of the Dr. Pepper promotion to gain more publicity for "Chinese Democracy."