Lady Gaga and her Born This Way Foundation are battling claims that the charity barely spent any money actually helping people.
A New York Post article cites the charity's tax records. They claim Born This Way brought in $2.65 million in revenue in 2012. But, they say most of it went to lawyers, consultants, and PR. Of the $2.65 million, $406,552 went to legal fees, $300,000 went to strategic development, and $150,000 went to consulting. Other fees included: $348,000 for bus-tour production; $77,923 for travel; $62,836 for stage production; $60,000 for research; $58,678 for publicity; $50,000 for social-media development; and $47,825 for meeting and event coordination.
Only one grant, for $5,000, was given.
Gaga's mother Cynthia Germanotta says those claims miss the point of the charity. She writes on the Huffington Post, "we are an organization that conducts our charitable activity directly, and we fund our own work. We are not a grant-maker that funds the work of other charities, and were never intended to be."
Germanotta also points out that Lady Gaga fronted most of the money for the charity.
So, which story do you buy?
The Born This Way website says the charity was started, "to foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated. The Foundation is dedicated to creating a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a kinder, braver world."
The charity follows Gaga on tour and offers counseling to teens at her concerts. It was offers opportunities to learn about tolerance via their website and through social media. That does address the need for bus and production expenses.
Germanotta did not dispute the numbers. But, she did say that each of those fees, "directly serves Born This Way Foundation's core mission of empowering youth."