It’s a peculiarity that has, as my Twitter followers can attest to, bothered me for a long time. The criticism of celebrities for publicising their charity work is, in my view, wholly misguided. As long as aid is given to those who need it most, the motivations for the benefactors’ involvement is largely irrelevant. The end almost always justifies the means.
Amir Khan, former unified world champion and, latterly, reality TV star, appears to bear the brunt of this brand of opprobrium. The Bolton man works with a number of respected charities, all of which do a commendable job, but the fact he and/or his PR team make some of his contributions public has led to accusations, particularly on social media, of self-serving motives masquerading as altruism.
It annoys me greatly, so surely it infuriates the man himself? Surprisingly, not so much. In fact, Khan demonstrates a level of empathy that should shame some of his more vitriolic critics.
“I think a lot of people wonder why people still like me even though I’ve admitted I’m maybe not the best, I’ve been knocked down and lost fights,” he says, highlighting the more general polarising effect Khan exerts. “Some people kinda hate me for that too, like, ‘Why’s he getting all this publicity when he’s failed? He got beat in his last fight, so why is he getting taken care of?’ Maybe deep down it hurts them to see me getting publicity, getting a big name when they do the same thing [charity work] and people don’t talk about them. I understand that, but I do it from the heart and I don’t want nothing from it.
"My parents told me long ago that if you live a good life, God helps you in other ways. With charity work, I don’t want fame, we publicise it sometimes so other people see what we are doing and follow in our footsteps; obviously if everyone did things for charity the world would be a better place. But a lot of people do it and, because they are not in the public eye, it never gets shown, so I understand that frustration.”