Star Jones isn’t the only mildly famous person who can turn marrying a gay man into an opportunity for free swag. Art Smith, a Chicago-based “celebrity chef” (he writes for O, The Oprah Magazine, so there) is offered sponsors a chance to get in on his wedding — which the Obamas are invited to!
But probably not actually attending. Reliable Sources details the pitch for the D.C. wedding:
Celebrity chef Art Smith is seeking sponsors for his Aug. 21 nuptials to his longtime partner, artist Jesus Salguerio. A flier sent last week to top PR companies offers commercial underwriting: $2,500 for the privilege of donating 350 items for guest gift bags; $20,000 and 350 products gets four tickets to the celebration. Part of the proceeds, according to the flier, will go to Common Threads, Smith’s charity to teach healthy living to poor children.
The offer mentions “invited guests” (i.e., not confirmed): the Obamas, the Bidens, George W. Bush, Jessica Simpson and Oprah Winfrey (Smith used to be her private chef), who would presumably take home said gift bag.
But is the money actually going to charity? Smith insists yes.
“The charity wasn’t mentioned much, so it wasn’t clear why they were trying to get sponsorship for the wedding,” said the owner of a Boston-based national PR firm, who received the solicitation last week. “Having worked in both PR and politics, I was surprised to see the Obamas’ name used as a way to raise money.”
The L.A. company responsible for the bags also assembled the fabulous swag for the Oscars. Inclusion doesn’t come cheap: Donating even a modest item ($30) for each of Smith’s guests will run each sponsor more than $10,000.
Too commercial? Smith doesn’t think so. “I don’t live a private life,” he told us. “We’re not accepting gifts. We’re only asking that our guests think of the charity, if they wish to.”
To be fair, Smith says he raised a cool million bucks at his 50th birthday party, which included a $250,000 gift from Oprah herself. Queerty would love to be part of this gift bag. We’ll provide the after-part poppers.