reddit massively trolled wyclef jean in his poorly thought out AMA
Questions included: "What's the first thing you're going to do when you get to hell?"
Image via Flickr
In 2004 musician, producer and one third of the Fugees, Wyclef Jean started his Haiti-based charity Yéle as a way of giving back to his home country. Initially, it was a small operation which took in just $37k in its first year of business. When the 2010 Haitian earthquake hit, that number surged. Yéle received over $1 million in donations in 24 hours—that figure would eventually reach $16 million. Thanks to Wyclef's profile, it became one of the main recipients of public and private donations, and public figures like Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie were soon wearing Yéle t-shirts while donating their time. He was a national hero and lauded as the "greatest asset and ally."
That was until details of embezzled funds started to become very public. In 2012, the New York Times detailed the extent of the issue: highlights included Wyclef paying himself 100k to perform at his own fundraiser, spending $24,000 on chauffeur services and fronting $30,763 for a private jet to transport Lindsay Lohan from New Jersey to a benefit in Chicago. The benefit itself only raised $66,000. For a more detailed breakdown of the abuse of funds check out the New York Times article, but to give a final sense of how extreme the skimming was, Diaoly Estimé—whose orphanage was supposed to benefit from the charity—said, "If I had depended on Yéle, these kids would all be dead by now."
Skip forward to 2016 and Wyclef is still not a popular guy. He exists within that circle of infamy that means he is eternally fair game for punch lines, and his earlier achievements—which being objective are impressive—are largely eclipsed. It's under these circumstances that the musician decided to take part in one of Reddit's Ask Me Anythings, a forum where celebrities make themselves available to the public to answer a wide range of questions. Usually they involve things like Chris Pratt saying his favourite sandwich is, "Two slices of white bread, mustard, mayo and a platinum American Express card."
Things were less sunny yesterday when, fans went to town on Wyclef. Questions included: "How can you defend yourself about using a charity that you stood up and chaired as a personal piggy bank?" and "What's a good fake charity I could start up to rob people of money who really need it?" plus "what's the first thing you're going to do when you get to hell?"
The stream continues like this for literally thousands of comments, and is only interrupted by the occasional pieces of advice like, "Fire your publicist. Who told you this would be a good idea?"
You could of course look on the bright side: if you're going to crash and burn, you may as well crash and burn bigger than anyone ever has before. Online discussion of the thread came to the conclusion that he had officially beat out Woody Harrelson's efforts as the most disastrous AMA of all time. For reference, Woody was just disappointing and wouldn't answer any questions that tied into his fun-loving-party-guy persona. Wyclef, you know, stole money from homeless orphans.
Not surprisingly, Wyclef promptly deleted his Reddit account, but before he left he did answer a handful of questions. When CHNYC asked: "With all that money you stole from those poor Haitians, why couldn't you help Lauryn Hill out with her tax bill?" He replied:
"its so important that u understand that if u fully do real research u will understand that whenever u decide that u are going to do more then sing and dance u have to be ready for the lies that comes with it i have never stolen from my people i brought Haitian pride to my people and despite what they tried to do i am growing stronger everyday and will continue to do my part as i can see you are doing your part as well"
For anyone keeping score, his answers have been universally downvoted by users. The whole thing left us with one question remaining, which user Mr_Ree416 put best: "Pardon me Mr. Jean, I was wondering if you have ever been in a car wreck this bad before?"