Michael Stipe Pledges to Donate Proceeds From Solo Singles to Charity

Former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe has pledged to give the money he makes from singles to charity to help organisations he believes in.

The "Losing My Religion" singer has revealed he won't be pocketing any money he makes from the first year of his releases, because he made enough as R.E.M.'s leader.

"Because of R.E.M. and because of all the fans across the years, I'm able to take all the money I've made for the first year of the release of every single that I'm putting out as a solo artist, and donate it or dedicate it to organisations and movements that I feel very strongly about," he tells U.S. late night host Seth Meyers.

Some of that cash will go to groups in Athens, Georgia, where Stipe formed R.E.M., to help coronavirus crisis management.

"(Athens-Clarke county), the smallest county in a very large state, now has the highest two-week total of new cases for any of Georgia's 159 counties, and one of the highest per capita in the nation, and it has seen the number of deaths due to Covid-19 more than double in just the past six weeks," he wrote in a recent piece for The Guardian.

Stipe laid the blame at the feet of college students at the University of Georgia, who are defying common sense and partying without face coverings and ignoring social distancing guidelines.

"As has been widely noted, young people do not live in a bubble, and so they serve as a danger to their older and more vulnerable teachers, the custodians who clean their classrooms, kitchen workers who cook their meals – and that is just on campus," he added. "Their impact off campus, in the town of Athens, is alarming."

"In addition, the 14,000 primary and secondary schoolchildren in Athens will have to stay away from their needed academic and social supports because of the reckless environment that our state has enabled for the university community."

The singer also attacked Georgia's Governor, Brian Kemp, accusing him of being "slow to order safety measures and quick to lift them."

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