Carolina Public Press this week published a story about a Kickstarter campaign launched by television and movie star Whoopi Goldberg, one that left me asking one question – why is a Goldberg, who has a net worth of $45 million, asking the public to give her $65,000 to make the documentary?

Goldberg wants to tell the story of Jackie “Moms” Mabley, a groundbreaking comedian who was born in Brevard. That’s a worthy end. Mabley was an influential figure, as Jon Elliston, a Carolina Public Press editor, rightly points out. Her story should get a rightful re-telling.

But why is Goldberg, who probably drops $65,000 a year on coffee drinks and clothes, using Kickstarter to raise money for the project? It galls me that someone with cash and connections would take advantage of a site that to me is designed more for the struggling artist seeking to make a dream come true.

Goldberg, in her Kickstarter video pitch for the Mabley documentary, never explains why she’s turning to the public. At this writing, with five days to go on Goldberg’s campaign, she’s running about $7,000 short of her goal. We’ll see how it turns out, but you won’t see me making a donation.

Image link for Moms Mabley.



  1. craggybender says:

    Tell her to ask Babs Walters. Whoops was AWESOME in

  2. Most movies including indies are funded in some fashion. Very few people pay directly out of pocket. This is just a new way of funding projects. Big projects/companies are funded by investment banks/public offerings, smaller projects/companies are funded via VC, Angel Funds, Private investors, Friends, Family, etc. Crowdfunding is just getting off the ground and will be another means to add to the list above. All sorts of folks are using it. I imagine we’ll see quite a few companies similar to kickstarter in the next few years.

    If the market will bear it then so be it. Goldberg is just using the tools available to her (and to the rest of us as well, which is really cool).


    • The traditional investors you cite obtain a piece of the action for their $. This is a freebie for Whoopi. Very cheap on her part.

  3. Jon Elliston says:

    Thanks for the post, Jason. And I hear you — yours is a question many are asking. Whoopi offered an indirect answer in her initial appeal; in an update, she went further, saying the project grew beyond what she anticipated and that she needs help with it. Take from that what you will, but here’s her update on the matter:

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