Caitlyn Jenner was caught taking tens of thousands of dollars to promote a fake charity in a sting operation by a British news organization.
The current events program Dispatches released a documentary called Celebs for Sale: The Great Charity Scandal, in which the news team set up a fake charity to catch celebrities taking money in exchange for promoting it.
Jenner, who is transgender, was paid £19,500 (about $25,000) to publicly support the fake organization, CUPPA, or Cleaning up Plastic Pollution in Africa. According to itv News, Dispatch investigators created a fake website and merchandise for CUPPA but did not ask for donations or register it as a charity.
Jenner then posted a photo of herself on Instagram in which she is wearing a CUPPA shirt and holding a CUPPA mug.
“I’m proud to support CUPPA,” she wrote. “A great new charity that’s Clearing Up Plastic Pollution in Africa. Follow them on insta @cuppa_uk1 to show your support.”
The day before, Jenner also posted a video of herself talking about why it was so important to support the charity. “I think we have to be good stewards of this planet,” she said.
It was not mentioned in either post that she was being paid to ask for donations.
“When we started this investigation, I never imagined I would end up in Caitlyn Jenner’s Malibu house discussing her support for the charity we had created,” said Antony Barnett, the documentary presenter, according to The Guardian. “To keep public trust in the charity sector, it is important they are all open and transparent about where their money is going.”
Former British soccer player and manager Harry Redknapp also promoted the fake charity in the documentary.
In a statement, Jenner’s lawyer said, “It is well known to the public that sometimes celebrities are paid fees for doing promotional work for charities.”
“The benefit is mutual… Apart from this instance, she has never been paid for her charitable work, and always intended to donate the money raised via the photo-shoot and Instagram post to charities she supports… She feels that she has been targeted in the program because of her status as a well-known TV personality and that she has been exploited to increase viewing figures.”
A representative from MN2S, the talent agency through which Jenner was paid, said, “Many of the celebrities that MN2S work with undertake charity work for free. In addition, they are regularly approached to undertake one-off fundraising work – as was the case with your fake charity CUPPA. In those instances, we may agree a fee that covers not just the individual but the work of the team that make it possible.
“This is widely known within the charity sector. Charities book celebrities because it raises their profile and helps them often raise far more money than the amount paid to the celebrity. The fee is often heavily discounted from the commercial rate, as was the case with the celebrities we work with and CUPPA.”
The documentary is meant to delve into the larger issue of celebrities being paid to promote charities.