Last week Kylie Jenner posted a GoFundMe campaign aiming to raise money for her former makeup artist Samuel Rauda after a tragic accident left him with numerous brain injuries. While many commended Jenner for promoting the campaign, others criticized the celebrity worth $700 million for asking her fans to contribute when many are struggling to support their own families as the Covid-19 pandemic drags on despite slowly increasing access to vaccinations.
Kylie Claps Back
Many took to Twitter with their thoughts, pointing out the apparel items Jenner buys for upwards of six figures, yet she chose not to cover the total price tag of Rauda’s medical costs.
While media outlets and Twitter users alike flocked to discuss Jenner’s decision to post the campaign, she quickly clapped back with another Instagram post on Monday, noting she did donate to Rauda’s GoFundMe campaign. Jenner wrote, “I feel it’s important for me to clear up this false narrative that I’ve asked fans for money and am not paying for makeup artist’s medical bills” and continues, “Sam isn’t my makeup artist, and unfortunately we don’t have a personal relationship anymore, but I have worked with him a few years ago and think he’s the sweetest. I saw my current makeup artist and friend Ariel post about Sam’s accident and his family’s GoFundMe, and I called Ariel immediately to see what happened.” Jenner then claims that she was compelled to visit the campaign at 6k trying to reach 10k, and Jenner donated the final 5k exceeding the goal. Jenner finishes her post by saying, “I don’t know how all this got so twisted, but his family reached out and are very appreciative of the donations, prayers, and love towards Sam.”
Jenner said she does not have a personal relationship with Rauda, who has more recently worked for stars like Jenner’s current sidekick, Stassie Karanikolaou, and actress Bella Thorne influencer and social media star Nikita Dragon. Whether Rauda and Jenner had a falling out or fell out of touch is unclear; however, there seems to be a clear distinction made between Rauda and Ariel, who she refers to as her employee and friend.
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The Debate Continues Online
Despite Jenner’s effort to clarify the “false narrative” generated by the backlash, the conversation has continued online, with many now questioning if 5,000 was enough. The situation echoes many of Americans’ issues today as income inequality and taxation are in constant conversation. Should people be forced to share their resources for other’s benefit? Things then became personal for many responding to this predicament and controversy and cited their own experiences with unsightly medical bills. In contrast, others defended that individuals have a right to donate their wealth at their discretion without being trolled for it.
Another user compared Jenner to Taylor Swift, who donated 13k in December to a mother of five who lost her husband. This was just one of several donations Swift made to 2020 GoFundMe’s. However, Jenner and her famous family have made many of their own, including Jenner’s $1 million donations to coronavirus relief funds in March of last year.
The level of tension over the topic is indicative of an increasingly polarized media landscape. The majority tide of fans calling for Jenner and other wealthy celebrities to chip in more often where social infrastructures fail. The ugly and costly realities of the for-profit medical industry have been at the forefront of political debate in the United States for the last three decades. Rauda is far from alone when it comes to facing a life-altering incident at no fault of his own, only to be met with outrageous hospital bills. While it may be unrealistic for Jenner to resolve the failings of the U.S. medical system or pay Rauda’s bills outright, the incident and its backlash could lead to some heightened awareness from the Kardashian-Jenner clan around the healthcare crisis.
Millie Mae Healy of the Harvard Crimson decided to chime in on this question and wrote, “Debate about what Jenner should or shouldn’t have done is impossibly tied to the fact that this situation should never have happened. No one should have to rely on the generosity of strangers to avoid dying from completely treatable injuries or diseases. That makes it hard to evaluate the correct course of action in an awful situation that no one should have to deal”, though Healy goes on to say that the correct course of action “certainly isn’t what Jenner did.”
For many, any donation made by the extremely wealthy will seem insufficient. However, Jenner’s defendants and accusers alike should find some peace knowing Rauda’s family is truly grateful for the support, no matter the controversy surrounding it. Model and latest to be courting Scott Disick, Amelia Gray posted reality star La Demi’s graphic depiction of the tragic events leading to hospitalization. She shared that Rauda “flew out of a moving vehicle crushing his head into the pavement” and was “suffering from internal bleeding and eight different injuries to his brain.” La Demi also cited the GoFundMe page indicating the broader effort to bring attention and resources to the family’s situation. While she noted the surgery went well, Rauda had not become conscious at the time of her post.
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Sources: The Shade Room, Billboard , ET Online, Cosmopolitan, Hollywood Life, Forbes, Page 6, Harvard Crimson
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