Revealed: Ed Sheeran stars in 2017’s worst poverty porn charity appeal

Ed sheeran

​Comic Relief and DEC videos display white saviour syndrome, it has been claimed

Graham Martin's photo

8th December 2017 by Graham Martin 1 Comment

An Ed Sheeran-fronted Comic Relief video has been named as this year’s worst example of charity “poverty porn”.

The film, Ed Sheeran Meets a Little Boy Who Lives On The Street, was found to display “white saviour” syndrome.

It shows Sheerin on the streets of Liberia, where he offers to pay hotel costs for street children. You can watch it below.

The Comic Relief won the Rusty Radiator gong in the Radi-Aid awards, an  annual contest, organised by the student-run Norwegian Students and Academics International Assistance Fund (Saih),

It exists to challenge aid groups to shift away from stereotypes about people living in poverty.

Sheeran’s video won from a field which included the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Yemen appeal film, which was fronted by Tom Hardy, which contains graphic images of unidentified starving and sick children, and was accused of being “devoid of dignity”.

The other contender was the DEC’s African famine appeal, fronted by Eddie Redmayne, which was, according to jurists, devoid of any political context.

These films were dismissed as featuring “poverty porn and people waiting to be saved”.

Both campaigns were likened to throwbacks to 1980s appeals, such as band Aid, which routinely and lingeringly focussed on the suffering of unnamed people, while Sheeran’s effort was branded “poverty tourism”.

Beathe Øgård, president of the Saih, said the three films showed local people as victims and were an ver-simplistic, outdated way to communicate about development.

She said: “We have been presented with these kind of images since the 1980s. They are horrible to watch. People are so used to them that for many they reinforce that feeling of hopelessness and apathy – and even a negative view of development in that nothing is going in the right direction.”

The awards also commend appeals which portray people with dignity – and provide context as to why the crisis is happening.

This year’s winner of the Golden radiator award was War Child Holland’s batman video (see below), about the struggle of refugees in Yemen.

A judge said: “What a powerful video! Our heroes are never too far away from us. They give us strength, hope, peace and the drive to strive for the best. One thing this video did a really good job of was showing the kid as a kid. The children are dependent on their parents/guardians. Effective humanitarian crisis imagery.”

Comic Relief has been asked for comment.

The Radiator awards are named after a spoof video made in 2012, called Africa For Norway, shown below.

12th December 2017 by Lok Yue

So ed sheeran commits the cardinal sin of appearing to help people. Shame on the man to sink so low