They say no good deed goes unpunished, which Kylie Jenner found out firsthand this weekend. The beauty mogul announced on Instagram that she was donating $5,000 to a GoFundMe to help cover some of the medical bills of Samuel Rauda, a makeup artist who had undergone “major surgery” after an accident. Within hours, the internet turned on Jenner, and many somehow jumped to the conclusion that Jenner is now flat broke. The main issue was the idea that Jenner, whose eponymous makeup brand has been valued at over $1 billion, shouldn’t have just chipped in to the GoFundMe but instead, she should have covered it all. The implication? Jenner was either too heartless to cover it all, or just couldn’t.
As it turns out, however, Jenner is not the true villain of America’s broken healthcare system.
According to PageSix, Jenner caught wind of the GoFundMe because Rauda is a close friend of her personal makeup artist, Ariel Tejada. When Jenner first saw the fundraising effort, the total goal was only for $10,000. $6,000 of that was already raised, so Jenner’s $5,000 donation actually put it over the top of the initial goal. But once Jenner promoted it to her 222 million followers, the ask was raised to $60,000. It has now been further increased to $120,000. (Some even jumped to the conclusion that Jenner herself started the GoFundMe page, when in fact it was started by Rauda’s family).
Rauda’s regular clients include Bebe Rexha, Olivia Culpo, Ava Max, Chantel Jeffries and Jenner confidant Anastasia Karanikolaou. It’s also worth noting that while some estimates put Jenner’s net worth around the $1 billion mark, how much she’s actually worth in liquid assets isn’t public knowledge.
The real outrage here shouldn’t be whether or not celebrities are directly covering individual’s medical bills, but why we’re even at that place to begin with. Much has been written about how often Americans turn to crowd-funding to cover necessary medical bills (around one-third of the money raised on GoFundMe in 2017 alone was to cover medical expenses). And yes, this seems to be a uniquely American phenomenon. “Crowdfunding is also growing in the UK, Australia, and Canada but is generally confined to treatments not covered by public healthcare systems,” reports the Financial Times. “In the US, it is often about paying for the basics. American medicine is big business and the US spends more on it than any other nation, yet it is the only developed country that lacks universal healthcare coverage.” In other words, the problem is much bigger than Jenner.
Yes, we understand that pointing out how outrageous emergency medical expenses that can financially cripple a normal person can seem like pocket change to the one percent has a purpose in illustrating the absurdity of America’s vastly unequal healthcare system. Though, the moral outrage here should be directed far wider than in the direction of the world’s most famous lip kit entrepreneur.
There may be another lesson in here for all of us well: it is totally possible, if not preferable, to do something good or charitable quietly and not blast it to all of your social media followers.