Unethical Website: The Brittany Murphy Foundation

This is strange in so many ways, not the least of which being that TMZ, the generally worthless celebrity gossip website, is responsible for blowing the whistle.

Actress Brittany Murphy, best known for her break-out role as the cool-girl wannabe in “Clueless,” collapsed and died in the shower in December, another apparent victim of too much stress, too many diets, and too many prescription drugs in her system. “The Brittany Murphy Foundation,” set up by her family and husband, Simon Monjack, began soliciting contributions on its website in January, supposedly for arts education for children. TMZ received a tip that something was amiss, did some investigation, and discovered that no such foundation had been registered with either the IRS or the State of California. Following TMZ’s inquiry prior to posting its scoop, the foundation’s site was quickly taken down.

It then  resurfaced, minus its appeal for contributions, with a bizarre message that began…

Dear Friends,

We began the Brittany Murphy Foundation to honor Brittany’s wishes and to give family, fans and her friends a way to keep her keep her legacy alive. In an effort to get the foundation off the ground quickly, we established it as a private foundation with plans to apply for non-profit status down the road. However, after some thought, we have decided to wait until we have our non-profit status approved before proceeding to insure that we can truly honor Brittany’s charitable desires…

The statement concludes by announcing that it would return the donations that it had received so far.

Yes, “after some thought,” the organizers concluded that online fraud was not the best way to honor dear Brittany.

It might be the least auspicious start for a charity in the history of memorial foundations. What could possibly account for this? Is it possible these people—Simon Monjack is a British screenwriter who didn’t just fall off the turnip truck—really thought it would all right to solicit tax-exempt contributions before their organization was tax-exempt? Who was their lawyer—Loius Tully? Lionel Hutz? And didn’t anyone teach them the difference between “insure” and “ensure”?

5 thoughts on “Unethical Website: The Brittany Murphy Foundation

  1. Please tell me the difference between “insure” and “ensure” because I had it straight for 28 years and then lawyers convinced me that they were completely interchangeable. Additionally, Webster’s wasn’t any help.

  2. Insure: a transitive verb. You insure something, as in getting insurance.

    Ensure: an intransitive verb meaning that you take measures to make sure something occurs or is done.

    Assure: what you say or communicate to someone to let them know that you ensured that something they care about was done, or insured a property or possession of theirs.

    Like which and that, imply and infer, these three words are mixed up so regularly that Dictionaries have given up.

  3. Let’s just be clear. They’re just slimebags who hoped to profit from Brittany Murphy’s death. They got caught. And I’m just absolutely breathless to see when they get their 501(c)(3) status, because then I’ll absolutely give them a donation!

    • Unethical Spam Example of the Day: New comment on a dated post, no substance, and an obvious lie: I know who subscribers are. Why should I count you if you aren’t one? I deleted the website, so all this dishonesty comes to naught.

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