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Entertainment Industry and Celebs Pledge Aid for Japan Relief

by Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
March 18, 2011 6:25 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood

As the full horror of the scale of earthquake and tsunami damage to Japan, and its ongoing nuclear radiation crisis, hits Americans, folks in show business are stepping up. (Our initial report on Japan's earthquake aftermath and Hollywood is here.)

Sandra Bullock, as she did with New Orleans and Haiti, was one of the first celebrities to lead the way with a serious-scale donation of $1 million to the Red Cross for Japan disaster relief. Others are also giving. See below.

[Image: Courtesy of CNN: Five-year-old Neena Sasaki carries family belongings from her destroyed home in Rikuzentakata in Miyagi Prefecture on Tuesday, March 15]

- Heroes star Masi Oka, who was born in Japan, appeared on CNN on March 17, and discussed his plans for a national TV telethon to benefit the people of Japan. He suggested that relief telethon organizer George Clooney would be one of many celebrities involved in the fundraiser. According to Clooney's press rep Stan Rosenfield:

"George is in Michigan directing a film but would be happy to participate in any way he can in helping the people affected by this disaster. He told me "I'm happy to participate in any way I possibly can to help."

- After shutting down Tokyo operations, Disney has pledged to donate $2.5 million to the American Red Cross's humanitarian aid efforts for earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan. They will also match their cast and employee donations to Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund and Save the Children, up to $1 million. Disney president and CEO Robert A. Iger stated: “Our hearts go out to the people of Japan. We send our continued thoughts of support and encouragement as this great nation begins the long road to recovery.”

- Warner Bros. has pledged to donate a share of DVD profits from Clint Eastwood's Hereafter, which hit stores on March 15, to Japan relief. The film earned an Oscar nomination for its realistic depiction of an Indian Ocean tsunami; the studio pulled it from Japanese theaters after the earthquake. Eastwood, who produced and directed two films about the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima (one in Japanese), said in a statement: “The devastation and loss Japan is facing is almost incomprehensible. I’m glad to join Warner Bros. in this effort to help the Japanese people.” President of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group Kevin Tsujihara added:

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Japan. We are committed to supporting relief and rebuilding efforts during this difficult time.”

- The Hollywood Foreign Press Association donated $250,000 to the International Rescue Committee to aid relief efforts in Japan.

- The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema partnered with The Japan Society to donate 10% of ticket sales for all screenings for the Takashi Miike retrospective, Shinjuku Outlaw: 13 From Takashi Miike, to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.

- Hulu is donating the first $50,000 that they earn in revenue from Japanese content to the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund.  They will also allocate $200,000 in ad inventory from public service announcements (PSAs) to organizations directly linked to tsunami and earthquake aid efforts. 

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