A virtual summit that is said to have centered around the topic of philanthropy and reportedly acquired some major stardom to participate has been revealed as fake.
Thrive Philanthropy, a small Utah consulting firm, had advertised a star-studded event starring George and Amal Clooney as keynote speakers, actress Charlize Theron, Golden Gate Warriors’ Stephen Curry and wife Ayesha alongside actor Matthew McConaughey.
The PR company that would promote the event has now revealed that no such event will take place.
A website had claimed to have secured A-list celebrities from speaking philanthropy in an exclusive ‘virtual’ two-day summit
Known for their philanthropy, George and Amal Clooney would request an investigation after their names were used to promote the event without their knowledge.
Actress Charlize Theron was also announced as the ‘keynote speaker’ at the event
A website had been launched in which journalists were invited to attend the ‘two-day virtual Connect Summit’, promising to ‘teach, enlighten and address the most crucial and urgent global issues’.
The event will be the who’s who on the nonprofit and philanthropy circuit, including keynote speakers including Matthew McConaughey, Stephen and Ayesha Curry, George and Amal Clooney, Ashton Kutcher, Charlize Theron, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Camilla Alves, and Julie Cordua, ”read a press release promoting the summit.
Tickets sold for $ 399 each with an amount as high as $ 1,799 according to Deadline.
However, after the story was published, the website was gutted and the option to purchase tickets was removed.
Actress Blake Lively and husband of Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds. The couple have said they were ‘unaware of this event or confirmed to participate’
The PR firm, Wunderlich Kaplan, who was hired to close the flashy conference, has since learned that no celebrities seem to have been booked and that all information related to the event appears to be “fraudulent.”
“While something like this has never happened before at our agency for over 20 years, it seems we’ve been hired to launch a conference based on lies,” Kaplan wrote in a statement.
“Unfortunately, due to fraudulent information provided to us by our client Stephanie Lapensee, founder of Thrive Philanthropy, creator of the Connect Summit, our agency, Wunderlich Kaplan Communications, no longer represents this project.”
“We are horrified at the situation and will work diligently to ensure that all information provided there is corrected. Thank you for your understanding. It is all incredible, because we have still not heard from Ms Lapensee. ‘
DailyMail.com has also contacted Lapensee for comment.
Among the recognizable names were Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and wife Ayesha who also declined to participate in the event
Some celebrities who were announced to be involved in the event have since released statements regarding the total non-event.
There are ads claiming that Amal and I will participate in Thrive Philanthropy’s Connect Summit. We have never heard of this summit and have never been approached to be part of a charity that asks for $ 399.00 to participate. When we contacted the lead company, they said it was a mistake and our names would disappear, “George Clooney wrote in a statement.
“We don’t know if this charity is what it says it is and if it’s just been cheated by a booking agency or if there’s anything more outrageous involved. The best antiseptic is sunlight, and for the sake of protecting the public and the many major charities, we hope this situation will be thoroughly investigated, ”Clooney continued.
Other celebrities who received an invoice included Ryan Reynolds and his wife Blake Lively. The couple said they were “unaware of this event or confirmed to participate.”
The Connect Summit also claimed to have secured Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves
Stephen and Ayesha Curry have also stated that they ‘were never part of this event’.
The Connect Summit also claimed that David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation, was speaking and Dr. Rajiv Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, a panel host.
The premise has echoes of the infamous 2017 Fyre Festival, a fraudulent luxury music festival founded by Billy McFarland.
Both have confirmed that neither participates in such an event.
Other speakers identified as concerned according to the website included Peter Buffett, the son of billionaire Warren Buffett and his wife Jennifer.
At some point, Deadline recounts how the Summit offered “ a gift bag, exclusive session access, morning yoga sessions, and lunch / dinner with celebrity chef Curtis Stone. ”
The premise has echoes of the infamous Fyre Festival of 2017, a fraudulent luxury music festival founded by Billy McFarland, from Fyre Media and rapper Ja Rule.
It was created with the intention of promoting the company’s Fyre app for booking music talent.
The festival was set to take place in the Bahamas and was promoted on Instagram by social media influencers, who later revealed they were paid for it.
Instead of the luxury villas and gourmet meals that festival-goers paid thousands of dollars in, they got prepackaged sandwiches and FEMA tents as accommodation.
Fyre festival was heavily promoted on social media and labeled as ‘the cultural experience of the decade’ with plush villas and gourmet food. However, the project completely disintegrated due to lack of money and guests arrived on a barren island with insufficient food, water or shelter
McFarland was blamed for the failure of the long-awaited music festival scheduled to take place on the Bahamian island of Exuma over two weekends in 2017
Celebrities like Elsa Hosk, Emily Ratajkowski, Bella Hadid, Lais Ribeiro, Gizele Oliveira and Rose Bertram, pictured from left to right, were also paid to promote the event on Instagram