U2 frontman Bono blasts Apple for ‘modesty run amok’

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Bono is a tireless promoter of his global AIDs and HIV nonprofit, (RED), but according to the U2 frontman (and, more ignobly, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark composer), Apple’s dropping the ball when it comes to charity: not in regards to giving enough money to charity, but in regards to promoting how much charitable work it does as a company.

If you’ve ever bought a (RED) iPod, you’ll know that Apple has partner with Bono’s charity since 2006. Apple sells over half a dozen items every year that contribute to the Global Fund through its (RED) partnership, in which red gadgets made by different companies have their profits donated directly to the fight against AIDS.

Apple is a big supporter of Project (RED). In fact, Apple’s senior VP of design, Jony Ive, did an entire charity auction for Project (RED) last year, in which he sold a red Mac Pro for $977,000.

Bono does not dispute that Apple gives a lot to (RED). However, at an event at the Cannes Lion Festival this weekend with Apple designer Jony Ive, Bono called Apple “annoyingly quiet” about its charity work, saying the Cupertino-based company was doing The Global Fund a disservice for not shouting to the hills about the $75 million it has raised for AIDS charity work over the last decade.

“This is modesty run amok,” Bono said. “This is the Apple way. They’re like a religious cult.”

Maybe Bono has a point. Apple is the company from which the entire tech world takes its leave. If they promoted their charity work more zealously, maybe more companies would follow suit. I don’t think even Apple would complain if Samsung shamelessly ripped off their charity work (instead of their design work) for a change.

  • lowtolerance

    Bono knows everything there is to know about not being modest.

  • http://www.sk1wbw.wordpress.com/ Wayne Williams

    It is said that if you give out of charity, don’t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. Bono just wants the world to know how much HE gives, just for the publicity.

    • CelestialTerrestrial

      Bono doesn’t always mention how much he gives, but he wants you to THINK that he actually gives a lot more than he does. He probably only gives the maximum amount that he can write off for tax purposes and he also does free concerts to help promote his albums so he can make more money.

      What happens is that a lot of these rich people get their money where it produces guilt because of how they made their money and then they give portions of it away to remove their own guilt.

  • Adrayven

    So pulled out of context.. he said it in jest, relating a story of what its as like to work with them, as everyone knows how Jobs liked to control things. It was not with anything like criticism or hate.. stupid article. Click bait in twisted fashion.. pun intended.

  • AlanAudio

    Bono doesn’t seem to realise that Apple is a classy company. It’s not classy to shout from the rooftops about your charitable work ( you can always rely on Bill Gates to set a perfect example of what is not classy ).

    • mindbomb2000

      Are you serious? Bill Gates may not be “classy,” but the man has saved more lives, and given more of his earnings than most men of his financial stature. Who cares if he shouts about it? Would his raising of awareness (shouting) cause you, or anyone to NOT support the cause if you believed in it?

  • Arnold Ziffel

    Shut up and sing, Bono.

    • CelestialTerrestrial

      I don’t think he can anymore. His vocals have been going down hill.

  • Omaha Sternberg

    The idea that when one gives charitably, one needs to be silent about it is a Protestant concept; it’s all about the notion that giving should be from the heart so telling everyone about it bragging. Of course, to them, if you’re giving, it’s to the church. Everyone knows where to go to give.

    But the modern person gives everywhere. Did you commenters even know about the existence of the RED campaign? I didn’t. I give quite q bit each year as well as purchase Apple products regularly, and had I known about the campaign it would have been included in my giving. By NOT talking about this campaign, Apple doesn’t allow Mac users and buyers to direct their giving in the RED direction, and hampers the work of the campaign.

    Advertising and word-of-mouth is how people find out about these things. By putting that down, you yourselves are blocking further giving.

    • mindbomb2000

      Well said, and I agree 100%

  • CelestialTerrestrial

    How many people die of AIDS yearly, how many people did they actually cure of AIDS and how many people contracted AIDS yearly so we can actually figure out how SUCCESSFUL they are in their efforts. Are the number of people dying of AIDS going up or down or staying constant? are the number of people contracting AIDS going up or down or staying constant? And is the number of people they are actually curing of AIDS going up or down or staying constant?

    What’s their success rate and how many can you actually contribute to THIS Anti-AIDS effort vs another?

  • digitaldumdum

    “Apple sells over half a dozen items every year that contribute to the Global Fund”

    Selling only a half a dozen items, I can see why Apple isn’t crowing. :)

    But seriously, we •wouldn’t• want anyone to be modest. That might be bad!

  • 2oh1

    He seems more concerned about the logo than the money. In the fight against AIDS, a logo isn’t going to save lives.

    • mindbomb2000

      The logo raises awareness. Awareness raises money. Money (put to good use) saves lives. The logo is important.

      • 2oh1

        Obviously, a logo can lead to awareness, but putting a logo on consumer products isn’t the most effective way to raise awareness – at which point, the question becomes: Which has more value? The money raised or the prominence of the logo? I might feel differently if the logo wasn’t so poorly related to the cause. (AID) would have been a better logo than (RED) since the word “red” has no relation to the cause they’re raising money for.

  • http://almashriq.hiof.no/lebanon/300/320/324/324.2/hizballah/ Sons of Ares

    Then it would no longer be all about him.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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