Australian acting royalty Russell Crowe has helped raise at least $400,000 for NSW firefighters after an idea to auction off his smokey and sweaty cap saw billionaires pledge 6-figure donations.
Related story: Russell Crowe’s property ravaged by bushfires
Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes won the auction, pledging $100,000 which Crowe matched.
His co-founder Scott Farquhar pledged $100,000, Ryan Smith, the co-founder and CEO of Qualtrics - which has offices in Australia - also pledged that amount.
Hey @russellcrowe @NSWRFS - you've started something amazing here.— Mike Cannon-Brookes 👨🏼💻🧢 (@mcannonbrookes) November 29, 2019
Unasked, both @scottfarkas and @RyanQualtrics are matching the $100k as well. Total legends both of them! 👏🏻 Thank you both!❤️
Your 🧢 has now generated $400k in donations in 24h to help tired, exhausted fireys! https://t.co/Wp7W2lQbD7
“You’ve started something amazing here,” Cannon-Brookes tweeted to Crowe.
“Your hat has now generated $400k in donations in 24h to help tired, exhausted fireys!”
As part of his winning bid, the $9.01 billion Australian tech giant asked for Crowe to sign the cap with the words “Today is the day”, before adding Crowe’s name and giving the hat to a child affected by the bushfires.
Why ‘today is the day’?
The Climate Council has warned that the bushfires have been made worse by global warming.
“This year bushfire risk in parts of northeast New South Wales and southeast Queensland has been exacerbated by drought, very dry fuels and soils, and heat,” the council said.
“All of these factors have been aggravated by climate change.”
But when questioned on the link between the catastrophic bushfires and climate change, both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian have said that discussion was one for a later day.
“We just want everyone to focus on protecting life and property and of course we'll have those discussions. We've never shied away from those," Berejiklian said.
“But when you face people who are protesting I often say to them 'Well, why don't you help out people who have just lost everything?' Let's have these discussions another day.”
It’s something that has rankled Cannon-Brookes, who has for several weeks lobbed tweets at Berejiklian, asking her to ‘name the day’.
👋🏻 @GladysB— Mike Cannon-Brookes 👨🏼💻🧢 (@mcannonbrookes) November 20, 2019
10 days ago you said it “wasn’t the day” to talk about the clear links between climate change & bushfires.
You haven’t talked about it in 10 days. I won’t stop asking.
Is today the day? #nametheday https://t.co/XCF7qEFD2g
“15 days ago you said it “wasn’t the day” to talk about the clear links between climate change & bushfires,” Cannon-Brookes said.
“You haven’t talked about it in 15 days. I won’t stop asking.
“Is today the day? #nametheday”.
Continuing, Cannon-Brookes said the correct day to discuss the link between climate change and bushfires was “yesterday”.
In case you were all still wondering the correct answer?— Mike Cannon-Brookes 👨🏼💻🧢 (@mcannonbrookes) November 11, 2019
Fireys thank Crowe for leading $400k donation
NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said firefighters were grateful for the huge donation, in a video message on Friday.
"What he claimed started out as a random silly idea is certainly far from it when it comes to the men and women of the Rural Fire Service up north," Fitzsimmons said.
"And indeed it is reflective of the extraordinary generosity that we're seeing right across New South Wales and much further afield."
And, Fitzsimmons said the RFS would replace Crowe’s auctioned cap with one of their own.
"It might not be as well worn. But we're going to send this your way."
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