The first Oxfam celebrity ambassador has resigned from her role in protest at the sex scandal engulfing the charity.
Minnie Driver, a British actress, stood down after 20 years’ support for the charity claiming she was “horrified” by allegations that some staff were having sex with prostitutes in crisis hit countries.
The resignation comes as it emerges that more than 1,270 people cancelled their monthly donations to the charity in just three days. Those cancellations represent a possible loss of £12,039 a month or £144,468 a year, based on the average monthly donation of £9.48.
Charity bosses fear privately that more celebrities and even corporate sponsors could withdraw their support as the backlash about staff having sex with prostitutes and abuse in charity shops deepens.
In a statement, Ms Driver, 48, said: “I am nothing short of horrified by the allegations against Oxfam International.
“In no uncertain terms do I plan to continue my support of this organization or its leaders. And though it is unfortunate that after 20 years I am no longer able to advocate and defend through this specific framework, social and economic injustice is more globally prevalent than ever. I certainly will not let the abhorrent mistakes of a troubling organization stop me or anyone else from working with good people in this space to support a population of human beings around the world that needs our help.”
In her role as an ambassador for Oxfam, the star of the Hollywood film Good Will Hunting has traveled to countries including Cambodia and Thailand to highlight the work the humanitarian aid organisation does. As a singer-songwriter she has also performed a concert along with stars including Jamelia and REM to raise funds.
Other celebrities who had promoted the charity on Tuesday night refused to comment on the allegations that staff even offered aid for sex.
From Saturday to Monday, 1,270 people contacted the charity to end their monthly payments, the equivalent to two months of cancellations in just three days.
Many of Oxfam’s corporate sponsors are reviewing their relationship with the humanitarian aid organisation.
Heathrow, the Co-Op Bank, Visa and M&S, all corporate sponsors, said they took the allegations very “seriously” and were “monitoring” the situation.
Meanwhile, pressure was mounting on Mark Goldring, the charity’s chief executive, who will be summoned to appear before a committee of MPs to be questioned about his response to the allegations.
Nigel Evans, a senior Conservative member of the committee, said Oxfam was now “facing obliteration” and said Mr Goldring had to resign.
Mr Evans said: “If someone comes to you with these major problems and you don’t act on them then quite frankly you are part of the problem and not the solution.
“I believe that he [Mr Goldring] has already admitted culpability by what he has said in response to Helen Evans. He has said ‘sorry I didn’t act quick enough’. It is time for him to go.”
Oxfam’s deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence resigned on Monday and the charity was warned that it could lose £30 million of government funding unless it can prove it is adequately tackling claims men have used the organisation as a cover for sexual abuse.
Priti Patel, the former aid minister who has criticised a “culture of denial” across the aid world about abuse, also called for Mr Goldring to go because the issue had been “mishandled from the start”.
However, an Oxfam spokeswoman said that since the sex allegations emerged there had also been record single donations.
“There were also instances of more donations. On Monday, we received 78 single gifts – the highest number since Jan 1st – and 44 regular gifts, the highest since last March 2017,” she said.
“We are grateful for the support of people during this difficult time for Oxfam, some of whom have expressed that they are deeply saddened by the repercussions of the appalling actions of a few – they are determined that the millions of people that Oxfam helps worldwide don’t suffer as a result.”
The charity receives around 200 people sign up each month to provide a direct debit each month.
Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/13/minnie-driver-becomes-first-celebrity-quit-oxfam/