Food Media 5

Jennie's Kitchen fund scandal

jvanderh | Nov 3, 201102:05 PM

Like a lot of people in the blog-reading world, I read about the death of Jennifer Perillo's husband with sadness. This appeared on Gluten Free Girl:

“As you can imagine, Jennie is overwhelmed not only by her grief, and the sudden responsibility of raising two children by herself, but she is also struggling with this financially. She just learned that she cannot collect widow’s benefits from Social Security because she earns too much money each year. The health insurance for her and her kids runs out in December and she just learned that the total she will have to pay will be more than her mortgage. It’s possible she’ll have to pay off the entire mortgage in one lump sum because the apartment was in his name alone. And more than anything, Mikey wanted Jennie to continue living her dream of being a food writer. And he wanted to make sure his kids were taken care of well. That’s why he worked as hard as he did. This fund will help Jennie to do just that: to continue to work and take care of the girls with some peace of mind.”

Apparently somewhere in the neighborhood of $60,000-$80,000 has been collected. It became apparent through further blog posts and tweets that Jennie's financial situation was not at all dire. She posted on her blog recently that the money will go to college funds for her girls. A few people replied, saying that they'd gotten the impression that the situation was really desperate and felt lied to. I would have too, if I had donated under those pretenses. While it seems pretty clear that Shauna ran with too little information, I can't see any real malice there. Bloggers without borders has also apologized, saying they misunderstood the situation, and offered refunds. What I can't seem to reconcile is Jennifer Perillo's attitude. It seems that she knew what was happening and did nothing to stop it. In one of the comments on her blog, she attacked and insulted the commenter (who went out of her way to be tactful), and replied that she sees her husband's death before she falls asleep each night and so she couldn't bear to tackle the issue. This is really sad, but it felt like a strange response. I can understand being too upset to deal with non-essentials, but it seems like when you finally can, you don't just pocket the money and say "oh well, it wasn't my fault!" I also can't get over how nasty she's been toward Shauna and Bloggers without Borders, who were clearly (though misguidedly) trying to help. I had sort of widened my eyes at her over-sharing posts, but always reminded myself that she was going through something really awful, probably getting through the day however she could and didn't have a lot of emotional resources left over for filtering. After the recent events surrounding the fund, though, I've come away with the impression that she's a Kim-Kardashian-caliber attention whore. I got my fill of backstabbing teenaged girls in the late '90's, and think I'll avoid her blog like the plague from now on.

What's your view? Don't care? Devoted reader? Furious?

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