Katrina: Stars don't mind getting hands dirty

9040__penn_l Thursday’s USA Today has a comprehensive roundup of what stars are doing on the ground to help, and some tell the paper they couldn’t help but get involved. ”It’s human to want to get your hands in it,” says Sean Penn, who says he embarked on his recent rescue boat effort because ”day by day, it became apparent there weren’t enough healthy bodies there to help, so I just went down there.” He insists that he was not seeking attention. ”I’m a 45-year-old man with two kids, and I’ve had plenty of attention in my life. I don’t need to dive into toxic waste for that.”

Other stars whose involvement extends beyond opening their checkbooks:

-Tommy Lee Jones spent two days at San Antonio’s Kelly Air Force Base preparing meals for 15,000 evacuees.

-Macy Gray, who handed out supplies at the Astrodome a couple weeks ago, is returning to do more of the same this weekend.

-Teri Hatcher is modeling and selling a line of rhinestone-studded T-shirts bearing motivational messages, with proceeds going to the Red Cross.

- Celebs who have launched Katrina fundraising websites include Sandra Bullock (katrinahelpaustin.org), John Grisham (rebuildthecoastfund.org), and Master P (teamrescueone.com).

Additional gestures from the showbiz world are outlined elsewhere in today’s issue of the paper:

-In Philadelphia, The Roots and Jill Scott will headline benefit concert Friday, with proceeds going to HurricaneHousing.org.

-In Chicago, Twista will rap at a benefit concert Monday at the House of Blues, with proceeds going to the United Way Hurricane Fund’s drive to shelter evacuees who’ve come to the Chicago area.

-In AMC multiplexes, the proceeds from moviegoers’ concession and ticket purchases today will go toward relief efforts.

Finally, USA Today reports that newly minted reality star Mr. T has cast away his trademark gold chains in the wake of the disaster. He says, ”Because of the situation we’re in now [after Katrina], I told myself, ‘No, T, you can never wear your gold again.’ It’s an insult to God.”

addCredit(“Sean Penn: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images”)

Comments (11 total) Add your comment
  • Ep Sato

    I thought Sean Penn was kind of schmucky for his trip to meet with Sadaam Hussein, but he gets some props for his relief work. If he really wanted publicity, he’d punch some more reporters or would have stayed married to Madonna.
    Special Mention to Mr. T, gave up gold for religious reasons. I pity the fool who disses Mr. T.

  • GT

    Mr. T. now that is impressive. I wonder if he is going to auction off any of his gold or anything? That would be cool.
    Also Sean Penn is annoying. I have been wondering how he got into New Orleans and if the amount of effort and cost it took to get him in could have been better served getting people out.

  • Danielle

    The good thing about Sean Penn is that you see him actually rowing the boat with other rescue workers saving people and animals.
    WTF is up with people like Teri Hatcher and faith Hill and other stars who like to stay in the comfort of L.A. or N.Y. and design freakin’ rhinestone shirts-LAME. Even when they do go down-Faith Hill- which one of the survivors who have just lost their entire lives to toxic waste water is gonna care that you sang Amazing Grace to them? Why not get your hands dirty and find a soup kitchen and feed people. Props go to the stars that did more than just send in the amount of money that was probably their tax refund-even if it’s just answering the phones at a benefit.

  • AnthonySF

    Odd, these celebrities seem to be spending more time helping out down there than our president.

  • Brandon

    It is wonderful to see the celebrities helping in whatever manner they can contribute. Why is everyone so critical? Do you really think teri hatcher is going to be able to do anything else to help? And why is everyone picking on the president. There are plenty of other government officials just as accountable (if not more) who have yet to roll up their sleeves. Let’s fix the problem first, then lay blame later.

  • Happy K

    Oh please, the President has a job and is spending as much time as possible. Not like all these celebs that had to pull them away from their $10,000 goodie bags and Emmy prep.

  • Chancey

    I think Faith Hill did a little more than sing. She and her husband filled three big trucks full with the basic necessities for the victims of Hurrican Katrina.
    I think people should give according to their means, including and especially celebrities. And I understand that not all celebrities are created equal (as far as their fame and what they earn) but it is embarassing to see how little some of these celebrities are doing for this disaster but reaping all the “good press” because of it.

  • Dan

    Wow, Anthony has the lowdown of our President’s moment-to-moment schedule, having a complete grasp on the pressures and complexities of his life.
    Amazing access!
    And to those mocking celebrities, try this: For every keystroke you spend tapping out quips, maybe you should tap some money online to the Red Cross.

  • daisyj

    The thing is, if you read the news stories about Sean Penn’s trip they make the point that, what with all the assistants, photographers, people to do the rowing, there was no room in the boat to actually pick anybody up. And, what is this, three times in a row that he’s headed to whatever place the news cameras are pointing? Maybe I just have no faith in humanity anymore, but I’m sensing an ulterior motive here.
    On the other hand, I’ve got nothing but love for Mr.T.

  • gil

    For everyone who’s complaining about the stars ‘not doing enough’ but reaping the good press…What’s enough? If celebs draw attention to the cause, it’ll only bring in more $$$. Who cares if stars are staying in Hollywood. Are you leaving your jobs to help on the gulf coast? They have jobs too. So any press will raise awareness and therefore lots of money!

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