Linda Tirado's recent editorial on poverty gutted out people's heartstrings. It also resulted in a flood of contributions to this poor unfortunate girl.
Her circumstances? The editorial?
They're both fake.
Turns out that Tirado is actually a Democratic activist (and a night cook, she insists) with a comfortable income. (She also owns her own home, thanks to the generosity of her parents. Who probably got fed a heart-wrenching tale, too.)
And now she has some private surgery, 'plus enough leftover to keep me while I'm writing,' thanks to generous benefactors who donated nearly $62,000. She then had the grace to finally shut the begging page down. She thanks her recipients, but makes it clear -- these bucks are staying with her. Period.
I feel sick. I have this awful feeling that if generous donors knew what kind of surgery she was talking about -- surgery she's careful not to name -- they'd also feel sick. She does obsess about her teeth a lot. Caps? Some kind of cosmetic surgery, instead?
Linda's response to the truth coming out? Oh, she didn't mean all that poverty was happening right now to her:
"Then they [the readers] willfully misread my essay. I can't help that."
And at the bottom of her 'gofundme' begging page:
"How is it that someone with such clarity and evocation has any
right to assert that they are poor? It is likely untrue. Well, it is and
it isn't. You have to understand that the piece you read was taken out
of context, that I never meant to say that all of these things were
happening to me right now, or that I was still quite so abject. I am
not. I am reasonably normally lower working class. I am exhausted and
poor and can't make all my bills all the time but I reconciled with my
parents when I got pregnant for the sake of the kids and I have family
resources. I can always make the amount of money I need in a month, it's
just that it doesn't always match the billing cycles."
(By the way, her Huffpost live interview makes it clear -- plain, uneducated and badly-spoken, with rotten teeth, she is not.)
Hmmm. Privately educated. (Cranbrook School, her alma mater, is a very expensive private academy in Michigan -- wealthy Detroiters would send their children there.) Comfortable upbringing. A paid activist for the Democratic party. (She shut her political blog down in 2011. Too bad I wasn't aware of it...an old Facebook page is here, using the same photo as in the essay.)
More here, if you can stomach it. (My original response is here.) As the columnist points out:
"You're not moving this person out of seedy quarters by donating money
that you earmarked to help a person in need. You're financing a book
written on a bunch of fictional musings about what Linda Walther Tirado thinks it would be like to be poor."
She wrote the original post in October, on her own blog. An update says:
Because I am getting tired of people not reading this and then
commenting anyway, I am making a few things clear: not all of this piece
is about me. That is why I said that they were observations. And this
piece is not all of me: that is why I said that they were random
observations rather than complete ones.
Go back and read her original essay, to see if you agree with this. Then wonder how in the world someone would stretch the truth so badly, then try to justify it by comments made in response. (After the 'random observations' didn't go over so well, she switched to 'Well, it's happened to others...so it's still true.' Too bad she isn't sharing that money with the 'others,' instead of using it to fix her teeth and go on vacation.)
By the way, she didn't close her 'gofundme' page down until two weeks ago -- until some of the truth about her real situation started coming out. She was actually gunning for $100,000, then talking about $150,000 before she finally shut down!
Poor little underprivileged dear. In another 'update,' she promises to give back by writing (her book, I assume), 'not by paying back the cash,' and ends with this interesting statement:
I am always surprised at the amount of people who are surprised by my reality.
Why in the world does the Huffington Post continue to publish her column?? Doesn't honesty and integrity count for anything?
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