Live Aid concert raised more than $125 million to go to aid.
The donations from Live Aid were not utilized for good like they advertised to the public. Live Aid officials were aware of the atrocities being committed by the dictator and his regime but donated the money anyways. Thus, this shows that Live Aid committed fraud because they took donations from the general population after knowing that the money would not be given to the people in Ethiopia but instead their dictator.
- The intention of the Live Aid concerts was good, and the money was meant to go to the hungry, it actually went into the hands of Ethiopia’s dictator Mengistu: Mengistu used the money donated from the Live Aid concerts to purchase sophisticated weapons from Russia that he then utilized to kill his opposition in Ethiopia. At the time Ethiopia was the third poorest country in the world, but equipped with Russia’s weapons had one of the best armies. Essentially, Live Aid’s donations to Ethiopia resulted in the slaughter of many Ethiopian citizens that opposed Mengistu’s regime and the dictatorship that he had in Ethiopia at the time. Bob Gedolf, the spokesperson for Live Aid, was reportedly warned multiple times about the war in Ethiopia and how the country did not have the proper infrastructure to deliver the money to the people. However, he did not listen. (“30 Things You Never Knew about Live Aid,” 2015)
- The money donated by Live Aid was essentially fraudulent because the spokesperson of Live Aid and other individuals who participated in the creation of the concert, knew that the money would not be going to humanitarian aid. Instead, they donated the money anyways to Mengistu, exacerbating the horrific issues that already existed in Ethiopia. When news first came out that Live Aid’s donations did not succeed in assisting the general population in Ethiopia, many were in disbelief and claimed the news was false. However, through research and dedication, news reporters eventually realized that Live Aid did commit fraud and knew that the money they were donating because of the infrastructure of Ethiopia, would never have gotten to the people. The percentage of the donations that went to charity in Ethiopia was essentially zero because it all went to Mengistu, who was the dictator at the time. The expectation was that Mengistu would utilize the funds to provide aid, but because he was a dictator, he did what he wanted to with the aid and purchased weapons to kill those that opposed him in Ethiopia. (““Live Aid: The Terrible Truth,” 2015)
- Live Aid’s original purpose was to bring developmental aid to Africa but ended up spreading Western normative values. Those that created Live Aid began it to donate funds and aid to Ethiopia to aid with their humanitarian crisis. However, when officials found out that the aid would not be going to their cause, they donated the money anyway, which is how Live Aid simply spread Western normative values. (“Remember Live Aid? Your Money Went to an Ethiopian Dictator, Not Famine Relief,” 2017)
- Not only did the Live Aid concerts collect donations to send to Ethiopia for aid, but they also sold tickets, merchandise, TV rights, and collected TV advertisement income. It is not clear what the percentages of the money they earned went to charity as the numbers they reported could have potentially been falsified, especially considering the situation with Mengistu and the Live Aid officials knowing that the money they donated would not be sent for humanitarian relief.
- People in Ethiopia were dying at the hands of their government and Live Aid gave money to the regime that was killing their citizens who opposed the government. It was proven that officials controlling the Live Aid concerts had knowledge about this and decided to donate the money to Mengistu anyways. This was likely because the ticket sales, merch, and other income other than the donations made them a lot of money. The officials were not going to come out and admit that they continued with the concerts to make money, but that is what is implied by them continuing their mission after being alerted by organizations in Ethiopia about the horrendous ways the Ethiopian government was killing their citizens. All donations from the Live Aid concert were given directly to Mengistu, where he slaughtered innocent Ethiopian civilians, children, and others. (Rieff, 2005)
- On the other hand, in 2005 a series of “Live 8” concerts were performed to raise more money and awareness regarding some of the serious issues in Africa like access to AIDS medication and increase the aid. Artists who started “Live 8” claimed that they received 3 billion views on the shows they held. But “Live 8” was not created to specifically raise money, but it was targeted to help spread awareness around some of the issues that Africa was facing as a whole. After “Live 8” the 18 poorest nations had their debt cancelled globally, increasing amounts of AIDS medication was distributed, and more aid was sent to struggling countries in Africa. This truly helped African compare to Live Aid.
People, when this came out, were horrified that they had donated their money to a country that was in shambles and that their government was killing the citizens. Ultimately, even though Live Aid did give donations to Ethiopia as promised, they still committed fraud because they knew that the money donated was not going to the cause that people thought it was.