Naomi Wu, aka “SexyCyborg,” says her attempt to make a money donation to a charity in Manila has gone awry in a surprising turn of events.
In a YouTube video Wu explains the controversy from her point of view, and how the charity, Virlanie Foundation, ended up rejecting her donation meant to help Filipino street children.
Wu says she contacted Virlanie after deciding she wanted to donate the proceeds from the sale of models of her recent 3D body scan.
The email, sent on January 8, included a link to an Instagram account with photos of the process and renders of the final model – and for the sake of transparency, she included a link to her Wikipedia page.
That page describes her as a Shenzhen-based Chinese DIY maker and internet personality, and “an advocate of women in STEM, transhumanism, open source hardware, and body modifications.”
According to Wu, the charity responded immediately and positively and provided a PayPal address for the donation.
On January 20, however, Virlanie followed up with another email asking Wu to fill out a fundraising form so she can “undergo the right process to become a legitimate fundraiser” with the organization.
Wu did this, and the donation – over $3,000 at that point – went through and was accepted.
But then she learned from third parties that the charity was sending out emails stating they weren’t associated with Wu, and that the money she raised was being rejected in order to “protect the image of both the organization and the children.”
Wu said she takes no issue with any charity declining her donations – considering her flamboyant internet persona – so long as they are upfront about it.
“If Manila street kids are doing so well you can afford to take food off their plates because a girl in a bikini offends you – that’s on you and up to your organization. Just say so when I contact you,” Wu is heard saying.
She implied that Virlanie acted behind her back to tell others she was an unsuitable donor – while never mentioning it in direct communication with her.
In the video posted to her YouTube channel with over one million followers, Wu said the money would be refunded, because redirecting it to another cause would undermine the credibility of her future charitable efforts.
Wu is not a stranger to controversy, having previously butted heads with US-based media accusing them of exposing her personal life in a way she said could put her in danger in China.