British comedian Lenny Henry has spoken out in defence of U.K. charity Comic Relief following the broadcast of a documentary which alleged the organisation's money has been invested in the arms, alcohol and tobacco industries.
The charity was the subject of a BBC Panorama expose, which aired in the U.K. on Tuesday night (10Dec13), investigating claims that Comic Relief donation money has been ploughed into shares in firms such as weapons company BAE Systems, as well as cigarette and alcohol producers, seemingly in direct conflict with the charity's work.
Henry, a trustee of the organisation and one of its staunchest celebrity supporters, has now taken aim at the documentary-makers, accusing them of undermining Comic Relief's charitable efforts.
He tells the London Evening Standard, "Attacking Comic Relief takes desperately needed support from children, families and old people here in the U.K. and the poorest around the world. Comic Relief has helped save and transform millions of lives over the past 25 years - something we can all be proud of. It's a fantastic organisation. I've seen the work done on the ground many times and I can guarantee the money raised brings real change to real people."
Comic Relief chief executive Kevin Cahill admits the charity does have a "small percentage" of money invested in arms and tobacco companies, but insists the Panorama program has prompted a full review of investment policies, adding to BBC Radio 4's World at One show, "We will do a full review of our policy after this particular programme and these discussions we are having now."