Earthquake in Haiti: Celebrities and fans respond on Twitter


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Celebrities and their fans are responding with prayers, news and calls for aid after Haiti was hit earlier today by a powerful earthquake, and many serious aftershocks, centered 10 miles offshore and near the capital city of Port-au-Prince. There’s a lot of damage, and many casualties are expected -- click here for a photo gallery that’s growing as more pictures come in.

Wyclef Jean, whose uncle is the Haitian ambassador to the U.S., was speaking to a person in Haiti when the quake hit. He told CNN, ‘We’re gonna need immediate aid, and we’re gonna need the United States and the international community to react immediately. This is the worst devastation that we as Haitian people have faced.’ His Twitter feed has unique updates. [He sent a detailed statement to @GlobalGrind around 8 p.m.]


Alyssa Milano, a power retweeter, has been urging her Twitter audience to donate to the Red Cross (with an assist from Christina Applegate) and is providing updates on the situation as the news unfolds.

MC Hammer has shared the news with his 1.8 million followers. Rainn Wilson sent prayers.

Various tweeple and bloggers in the gossip and ‘Twilight’ fan communities (@ThinkingofRob is on fire with updates) are urging donations to the Canadian Red Cross and elsewhere.

[Updated at 7:10 p.m.: The list of names grows -- add Marlee Matlin (who goes out of her way, with an assist, to tweet support to the Haitians in French and Dutch), Olivia Wilde (a relative newbie on Twitter, she’s soliciting donations for Artists for Peace and Justice, and her tweets are especially passionate because she just visited Haiti), Omar Epps, LL Cool J, Jessica Alba, Selena Gomez and Russell Simmons.]

[Updated at 7:30 p.m.: Encouraging donations to UNICEF -- Nicole Richie, Benji Madden, Joel Madden and Demi Moore.]

[Updated at 8 p.m.: ‘Big Bang Theory’s’ Kunal Nayyar asked how to help, and a few hours later Wil Wheaton was recommending the answers Kunal got; Ryan Seacrest offers pics (delete the stray commas after the links to see them); Marlon Wayans follows @Wyclef’s lead. Later updates will be after the break.]

Given the massive nature of Twitter, this is clearly only a partial list ...

... and we know that the outpouring will grow. Nothing yet from some of the microblogging site’s most vocal celebs -- people such as Ashton Kutcher, John Mayer, Kirstie Alley -- but as new voices speak up, we’d love to know about them so we can pass along the word.

[Updated at 10:15 p.m.: And there’s Ashton, coming in for UNICEF after a busy day (seriously)! We knew he’d be here. Also, Ministry commenter Bryan brings attention to as another charity that’s helping out. Ministry’s calling it a night now!]

[Updated at 11 p.m.: OK, the Ministry’s a big fat liar -- we have more. P. Diddy spoke up more than once. Laz Alonso of ‘Avatar’ stepped up, and Ben Stiller, linking to UNICEF, was in early, then again later with an eye on the news. Finally, Twitter founder Evan Williams asked: ‘I wonder what % of people tweeting to text a donation to Haiti have done so themselves. That’s not meant to be cynicism, just curiosity.’]


[Updated on Jan. 15, 2009: Just wanted to note that Kirstie Alley has been tweeting about Haiti off and on since the quake. And John Mayer did jump in. Didn’t want to call them out and run!]

Let us know in comments if you spot celebs or fans keeping an eye on Haiti or trying to help. Click here for The Times’ list of Twitter contacts (not celebs, this is news) who say they are in Haiti.

And all positive thoughts go out to the people affected by the quake, which one Caltech seismologist categorized earlier as similar to California’s 1989 Loma Prieta shaker.

-- Christie D’Zurilla

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