Wyclef Jean has hit back at reports he has profited from his Yele Haiti Foundation, insisting he's "disgusted" by the allegations. TheSmokingGun.com obtained tax returns for the charity and accused the star of taking money from the organization to pay for his production services and recording studio rent in recent years.
The website claimed Yele has financially "enriched" Jean, and that the foundation has "a lackluster history of accounting for its finances". But the former The Fugees star, who has been urging fans and stars alike to make relief donations to Yele Haiti following Tuesday, January 12 earthquake, is outraged by the accusations.
He says, "My commitment for my native land has been precedent - we don't have to discuss that. I've always been committed to the people of Haiti. I'm not one of those faces who is just talking about charity - I live in the country, I'm Haitian, this is what I live, breathe and sleep this (sic). Coming back here (to the U.S.), after digging kids up and finding cemeteries for them (in Haiti), this is what I've come back to - an attack on my integrity and my foundation. Let me tell you all something, first of all, you can donate to whatever charity you want to. I'm not here to force you to donate to Yele Haiti."
"Yele Haiti is an NGO - a non-governmental organization - I'm one of the very few who decided I'm going to start my own NGO. Why? Because in my country of Haiti, we've had NGOs for about 75 years now. I just feel that if I started my own NGO, I could impact certain projects better. If I felt like something is not getting to the people, I go and get it to the people myself. I work with the U.N. (and) the Red Cross myself so at the end of the day... I denounce all of this statement (sic) about Wyclef profited from his own foundation."
The rapper insists the foundation has invested in his benefit concerts - and that proceeds were ultimately returned to the charity. He adds, "Just so you understand, whatever show that you're doing, there's what's called production for the show. You can't put the show together without it. You need lights, you need a stage, where's the band going to come from you? You need a manager, you need a tour manager - all of these things have to be accounted for."
"So I never and would never take money for my personal pocket when it comes to Yele - I myself have put a million dollars inside my own foundation. So not only do I denounce all of that, I'm disgusted by that."