An extravagant charity lunch for the homeless held in one of New York’s finest restaurants by Chen Guangbiao, or the self-proclaimed “most prominent philanthropist of China”, went awry as participants, who described the event as a “propaganda trick for the rich”, learned that they wouldn’t be given a promised cash pay-out of $300.
According to The Telegraph, things had gone South by the time the rump steak main course was passed around at the Central Park Boathouse, as diners’ good moods suddenly dissipated upon discovering they wouldn’t be given the cash pay out Chen had originally promised attendees.
Reporter Philip Sherwell described the scene as a “near-mutiny”, as security men were forced to prevent disgruntled diners from storming out.
Officials from The New York City Rescue Mission, which Chen had worked with to organize the event, put the kibosh on the $300 payout as they were concerned about giving cash out to the homeless patrons, many of whom had drinking and drug problems. Instead, the money was donated to their organization.
“We have been duped to come along here under false pretences and now we are just part of a propaganda trick for the rich,” Harry Brooks, a Vietnam war veteran, was quoted as saying.
“We don’t need their steak, we need the money so that we can pay for food and clear debts. Now we’re never going to see it. This is a disgrace.”
The report added that recruited volunteers from the local Chinese community donned Red Army-style uniforms issued by Chen.
Outside of the restaurant, groups of Chinese exiles reportedly chanted in protest at Chen’s presence, calling him an ally of the Beijing regime.
According to Business Insider, while the lunch was meant to host 300 “poverty-stricken people”, only 200 were able to attend. At least 100 other people from homeless community centers sat outside the event.
“Why would you send an invitation by email to homeless people? If I had a computer, I would have a home!” one of the attendees, who never maid it inside, said in the report.
Chen performed some magic tricks for those in attendance and apparently mentioned his rendition of the song “We Are The World” ‘repeatedly’ during the lunch.
On Tuesday, the multi-millionaire was seen handing out $100 bills to homeless people on the streets of New York.
Not all were disappointed. “I would have really appreciated the $300. but the steak is a nice gesture too. I’d never heard of this guy before but it’s good of him to share his wealth around,” 24-year-old Lawrence Terrell told The Telegraph.
[Images via People’s Daily // QQ // Google +]