We've Got Hollywood Covered
|

Eva Longoria Fires Back at ‘Inaccurate’ Hollywood Reporter Expose of Her Philanthropy (Exclusive)

The multi-hyphenate and charitable partner Trevor Neilson tells TheWrap that the report is “shameful,” and both reaffirmed their commitment to philanthropy

Eva Longoria is hitting back at an expose that accuses charity, Global Gift Galas, for which she serves as co-chair, of misappropriating donated funds.

Longoria and Trevor Neilson, who runs The Eva Longoria Foundation, told TheWrap exclusively that the report published Tuesday in The Hollywood Reporter is “inaccurate” and implicated the actress in “an effort to draw readers.”

“My first thought is that as a philanthropist I believe in total transparency when it comes to charities,” Longoria said. “My second thought is that the article is inaccurate. The philanthropic space is very complicated.”

She continued, “You cannot sum up in one article, the passion and dedication that a philanthropic organization builds itself from. I’ve leaned on experts, philanthropic advisors, charity lawyers to learn from and I use myknowledge to do the right things the right way. Unfortunately, bureaucracy is the one thing that stifles philanthropy. To reduce the generosities of any persons who have the intention of doing good in the world is shameful.”

Neilson points out that the trade magazine even named Longoria “Philanthropist of The Year” in 2009.

“In an effort to draw readers, The Hollywood Reporter has put Eva Longoria into a story that has little to do with her. Even the article itself says ‘Nothing in THR’s reporting indicates any wrongdoing by Longoria” which is not surprising given that the Hollywood Reporter named Eva ‘Philanthropist of the Year,'” Neilson said.

“Finally, and most seriously, the Hollywood Reporter decided to not mention that the source of these allegations against Eva’s friend’s charity also demanded over $500,000 and threatened to go to the press if it wasn’t paid. The Hollywood Reporter decided not to include this information even though it was provided to them.”

THR did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.

But as Neilson stated, the story mostly concerns allegations against Maria Bravo and Alina Peralta, good friends to Longoria and the founders of Global Gift Galas (the aforementioned charity for which Longoria serves as honorary chair).  The report alleges “creative accounting” on the duo’s behalf.

Longoria isn’t fazed — in fact, her latest philanthropic effort rolled out this week via “A Path Appears,” a documentary series about empowering oppressed women, airing on PBS from journalists Nichols Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

“I’m a big fan of Nicholas Kristof, I read his book ‘Half The Sky,’ which is about women turning oppression into opportunity,” Longoria told TheWrap on Tuesday, prior to the publication of the THR report. “I was just a really big fan of his ideology, we both share kind of the same idea that if you help women, women will help their families. And if they help their families, they change communities. The key to economic advancement is through any community.”

Longoria travels to Columbia on the three-part special, which also stars Jennifer Garner, Blake Lively, Alfre Woodard and Mia Farrow.

“The other thing I  loved about this is, it didn’t focus on multinational issues. There was the domestic side, Jennifer Garner‘s and Blake [Lively]’s were in Boston and West Virginia. I think it’s important to show Americans a lot of this is happening here in our backyard under our noses. The thought that, ‘Sex trafficking? That’s just Thailand. Poverty?’ That’s in China!’ No, it’s here. It’s in West Virginia, it’s in Detroit.”

Episodes of “Half The Sky” are available to stream on PBS.org.

Read the full statements from Longoria and Neilson below:

 “My first thought is that as a philanthropist I believe in total transparency when it comes to charities. My second thought is that the article is inaccurate. The philanthropic space is very complicated. I have invested time in this world, and one cannot occupy an area in this space without a genuine passion for the well-being of others. You cannot sum up in one article, the passion and dedication that a philanthropic organization builds itself from. I’ve leaned on experts, philanthropic advisors, charity lawyers to learn from and I use myknowledge to do the right things the right way. Unfortunately, bureaucracy is the one thing that stifles philanthropy. To reduce the generosities of any persons who have the intention of doing good in the world is shameful. My goal is to make meaningful change in areas that are important to me, like access to quality education, access to quality healthcare, the specialneeds community, farmworker pay and conditions, and immigration reform. That’s where I choose to spend my time and energy.” — Eva Longoria

“In an effort to draw readers, The Hollywood Reporter has put Eva Longoria into a story that has little to do with her. Even the article itself says “Nothing in THR’s reporting indicates any wrongdoing by Longoria” which is not surprising given that the Hollywood Reporter named Eva ‘Philanthropist of the Year.’ Finally, and most seriously, the Hollywood Reporter decided to not mention that the source of these allegations against Eva’s friend’s charity also demanded over $500,000 and threatened to go to the press if it wasn’t paid. The Hollywood Reporter decided not to include this information even though it was provided to them” — Trevor Neilson