Friday, January 22, 2010

TONIGHT: HAITI TELETHON


Stars align for Hope for Haiti Now telethon

Actor George Clooney was among the lead organizers of the Hope for Haiti Now telethon and will host the segment from Los Angeles.Actor George Clooney was among the lead organizers of the Hope for Haiti Now telethon and will host the segment from Los Angeles. (Peter Kramer/Associated Press)Some of the most famous faces in entertainment are uniting in four locations Friday evening for the Hope for Haiti Now telethon, a U.S-led, multi-network TV event to raise money for earthquake relief for the stricken Caribbean nation.

Actor and filmmaker George Clooney, who has taken the lead in organizing the two-hour telethon, will host from Los Angeles, while CNN's Anderson Cooper will appear in reports from Haiti, where officials estimate that more than 200,000 people were killed in the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Haitian-born musician and producer Wyclef Jean, who has been among the lead figures appealing for aid for his homeland, will host the segment from New York. Celebrities in London will also host a segment.

Hope for Haiti Now will include an appearance by former U.S. president Bill Clinton along with a parade of stars making appeals, answering phones and otherwise offering their time, including Muhammad Ali, Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Will Smith, Robert Pattison, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks and Nicole Kidman.

Musical performances from the benefit will be sold via iTunes, with all proceeds to be donated to Haitian relief efforts.

Clooney has urged Americans to donate whatever they can, whether in person, by telephone, through text messaging or online.

"It's a big world out there, and we all have a lot of responsibility to help out people who can't help themselves," Clooney said in an interview with MTV, which led organization of the telethon.

Celebrities lead appeal

A number of prominent figures have set an example with their donations, including Leonardo DiCaprio, who donated $1 million US to the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund; Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who donated $1 million US to the Doctors Without Borders emergency effort in Haiti; and Gisele Bundchen, who donated $1.5 million US to the Red Cross.

Leonardo DiCaprio donated $1 million US to a Haiti relief fund and will take part in Friday's telethon.Leonardo DiCaprio donated $1 million US to a Haiti relief fund and will take part in Friday's telethon. (Stephen Chernin/Associated Press)Several organizations will benefit from the money raised Friday night, with 100 per cent of the funds to go specifically to immediate humanitarian relief and long-term recovery efforts in Haiti conducted by the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, the American Red Cross, UNICEF, Yele Haiti, Oxfam America, Partners in Health and the UN World Food Program.

Slated to begin at 8 p.m. ET, Hope for Haiti Now will be carried by nearly every broadcast and cable station in the U.S. and internationally, including in Canada, where it will be preceded by the homegrown Canada For Haiti telethon.

Canadians can give to the charities mentioned in the U.S. benefit but they must give to Canadian charities to get a tax receipt.

With files from The Associated Press

For more information about the telethon and how to donate, go to:
www.HopeForHaitiNow.org