BNE’s “Banksy” Charity T-Shirt Scam Didn’t Benefit Charity

April 24, 2014 | Bucky Turco

Charity Water, a legit non-profit organization committed to “bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations” is “no longer in possession” of the $35,000 donated to them by sticker-bombing con artist BNE, Charity Water spokesman Paull Young tells ANIMAL.

BNE raised the money last month by claiming to sell a collaborative tee with Banksy. After ANIMAL exclusively reported that this was not the case (as confirmed by Pest Control, Banksy’s official website and his publicist), BNE admitted that the t-shirts had no affiliation with the renowned street artist. Then, deceived street art fans, not trusting the project and the amount of tees BNE said he was producing, started asking for refunds from PayPal. Eventually, the service shut down BNE’s account.

“PayPal has reviewed the donation and the matter in which it was raised,” Charity Water’s Paull Young explained to ANIMAL today. “Upon this review, the donation was flagged and determined by PayPal as an unauthorized payment. It was subsequently reversed by PayPal on Thursday, April 10th and we are no longer in possession of the donation.”

Charity Water have subsequently cut their ties to BNE. “If donors have any questions or refund requests they will have to go directly through BNE as we are no longer in communication with the organization,” Young says.

In related news, BNE announced that the tees that he legitimately did with Shepard Fairey, Invader and Faile won’t be coming with a certificate of authenticity, despite Faile’s insistence that they do. In that campaign, 20% of the revenue raised was given to the charity, before the fall out.

Faile’s COA that BNE did not include with the shirt. (Image: Screengrab of Faile’s deleted Instagram post)

Faile released and forwarded us their statement, apologizing to fans. “While BNE initially agreed to issue the certificate, we learned that those were not distributed after hearing from fans that received the t-shirts without the documentation,” the Brooklyn-based art collective stated in the email. “We apologize if you have, in any way, been inconvenienced or disappointed by our involvement with this project.”

It also doesn’t sound like Faile will be working with BNE any longer, saying that “in the future, we will control our own charity projects to ensure a high level of integrity and transparency.”

ANIMAL reached out to BNE for a comment. He did not respond.

(Illustration: Michael Ian Weinfeld)