The singer and activist Bob Geldof has mocked anti-poverty demonstrators as ”wankers dressed as clowns”, fighting claims that his own campaign against poverty had been flawed.
His comments came in a 6000-word letter to the director of a documentary that makes stinging criticisms of his rock concert campaigns.
In an attempt to persuade the director to retract the allegations from the film, to be televised in Britain tomorrow, Geldof wrote a meandering and at times emotional explanation of his work.
In it he said he had significant influence over world leaders in the run-up to the 2005 G8 summit. He contrasted the achievements of his Live 8 campaign with the global coalition of anti-poverty campaigners, which he characterised as ”a bit lame” and almost entirely ineffectual.
Claiming that ”all … the combined lobbying might of the total NGO community” failed to ignite public opinion over global poverty, Geldof drew attention to the powerful impact of the Live 8 concerts, which were televised simultaneously to audiences around the world. ”They are the vast billions watching,” he said. ”Brought together around the electric hearth of the TV or computer screen by the Pied Pipers of Rock’n’Roll.”
He also defended his proximity to world leaders: ”Like it or not the agents of change in our world are the politicians. Otherwise you’re always outside the tent pissing in. They stay inside their tent pissing back out at you. This is futile. My solution is to get inside the tent and piss in there.”
The film in question is Starsuckers, a polemic against media and celebrity that includes a string of allegations about Geldof. They include the suggestion that money raised from the 1985 Live Aid concerts to tackle famine in Ethiopia was misspent, leading to deaths, and criticism that the successor concerts two decades later, Live 8, overshadowed a mass movement of campaigners in the Make Poverty History coalition.
Geldof strenuously denies the allegations in the film, and his lawyers have written to the filmmakers, and are also in contact with Channel 4 and the regulator Ofcom over the broadcast. But Geldof is understood to have been so riled by the claims in the film that he wrote to its director, Chris Atkins.
A source close to Geldof said he was ”not surprised” Atkins had ignored his request for the letter not to be made public. It refers to some NGOs as ”boring, futile and adolescent” and takes a swipe at the BBC, which Geldof said declined to show films about poverty produced by his friend Richard Curtis.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald