No Afghans Rescued on Flights Chartered Through Influencer’s $7M Mission: WaPo
An Instagram star known as “Quentin Quarantino” raised $7.2 million to help fund evacuation flights for Afghan refugees, but has yet to charter a single successful flight, according to an investigation by The Washington Post. Despite the star’s assertion that Operation Flyaway has been a “miracle” that has helped evacuate hundreds of refugees, he admitted on an Aug. 27 conference call that he was “losing faith” in the operation. The Post found that the mission spent $3.3 million on flights that were canceled and not refunded. Flyaway, in some cases, was able to pay for or lend money to flights organized by other groups. But the largest chunk given away—$2.8 million—was to a charter company run by a man under investigation for fraud.
Quarantino, also known as Tommy Marcus, 26, first asked his 690,000 followers for donations on Aug. 17 and shot past his initial target in two hours. “We want to be clear: EVERY SINGLE NICKEL of everything raised will go to either pay for flights, or support these humans through various non-profits,” he wrote on GoFundMe. The plan was to run “flights until they tell us we can’t anymore.” The American Institute of Philanthropy described crowdfunding campaigns to the Post as the “Wild West” of fundraising.