Record Oscar Selfie Raises $3 Million

March 10, 2014       Zach Halper      

Were you one of the 3 million people who retweeted Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres’ star-studded selfie? If so, you helped raise $3 million donation for two national charities.

DeGeneres’ Oscar-night selfie, which included A-list celebrities including Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Lawrence, broke the record for retweets of an image previously held by President Barack Obama. The picture was taken with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone and Samsung will be donating $3 million to charity.

“In honor of this epic moment and of course, the incredible response of nearly 3 million retweets, we wanted to make a donation to Ellen’s charities of choice: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Humane Society of the United States,” according to a statement from the company. “Samsung will donate $1.5 million to each charity.”

Samsung was a sponsor of the broadcast of the Academy Awards, though the firm’s spokespeople denied that they had asked or paid DeGeneres to take the selfie. “While we were a sponsor of the Oscars and had an integration with ABC, we were delighted to see Ellen organically incorporate the device into the selfie moment that had everyone talking,” according to the statement. “A great surprise for everyone, she captured something that nobody expected.”

In a blog post on HSUS’s website, CEO Wayne Pacelle announced that the $1.5 million donation would be divided among three programs: Pets for Life, Shelter Pet Project, and Animal Rescue Team.

“[Ellen’s] support comes at an especially significant time as we are making preparations for our first 60th Anniversary gala event in Los Angeles later this month – to raise money for our companion animal and anti-factory farming work,” said Pacelle. “No animal should ever be forced to live in conditions like this. Now, they’ll get the opportunity to live happy, healthy lives,” said Tia Pope, manager of puppy mill response at HSUS.

St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital was so grateful for the $1.5 billion donation that they tweeted a selfie of their own to DeGeneres and Samsung to show their appreciation. The picture shows actress Marlo Thomas – who also serves as St. Jude’s national outreach director – with 10 St. Jude cancer patients.

The selfie currently has 1,048 retweets and 660 favorites.

“We are grateful for the millions who retweeted Ellen’s tweet, for Ellen’s continued support of St. Jude and for Samsung’s incredible generosity,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Their actions have resulted in an amazing gift that will help further our mission of finding cures and saving children, while ensuring that no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude.”

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