An app launched in Sydney today known as Sociabl boasts the chance to speak to a long list of celebs via video chat, but there’s one small problem – a number of the celebs never said yes to the project.
The app presents users with a list of “luminaries” you can chat to, from 5 Seconds of Summer and Richard Branson to The Bachelorette, with the price starting at $500 and climbing as high as $100,000.
The majority of proceeds then apparently goes to a charity of the celebrity’s choice.
But the app and its somewhat misleading advertising caught the eye of The Today Show co-host David Campbell, who’s name appeared on the app, alongside his father’s Jimmy Barnes.
Campbell said they knew nothing about the app and had not been contacted by the developers.
“My name came up on the app, and I was like – I’ve never heard of this app,” Campbell said in an interview broadcast with founder Brandon Reynolds, 21, on the Today show. “I called my Dad up and guess what – he hadn’t either.”
Reynolds insisted he had spoken to managers affiliated with Campbell and Barnes, and said he had obtained permission to advertise both – as well as claiming US musician will.i.am had also signed on.
“So will.i.am is launching with us April, with the Transform Foundation. If you speak to Polo Molina, his US manager. He’s really excited to be a part of it,” Reynolds said.
However, an email from Molina to The Today Show said he wasn’t aware of it – and didn’t think it was something the singer was involved in.
X Factor winner Reece Mastin has also stated he is not involved with the app, despite his name and picture being used in initial advertising.
“These people have completely lied about my involvement,” Jimmy Barnes said. “I think they’re just using my name to try to fool people into buying a dodgy product. It’s wrong and I have nothing to do with it.”
Comedy manager Andrew Taylor has also spoken up, per News Corp, saying Reynolds approached him to enlist a bunch of comedians, including Alex Williamson, Frenchy, Em Rusciano, Joel Creasey and Neel Kolhatkar.
— Sociabl (@SociablAU) January 7, 2016
Taylor said “it wouldn’t work for my clients” and ended any negotiation, however said he then noticed Frenchy and Williamson being used in promotions.
“I told him then to remove them, for which I got no reply, having checked again yesterday I saw he’d left them on his website, so we have informed him that he must now remove them or face legal action,” Taylor said.
Former footballer Brendan Fevola was one of the few celebrities promoting the launch on social media today.
Loving Sydney cracking day for the Sociabl launch https://t.co/G7ukf3KxhL
— Brendan Fevola (@BrendanFevola25) January 17, 2016
Sociabl publicist Max Markson said the mixup came when social media managers for Jimmy Barnes, Reece Mastin and David Campbell talked to Sociabl without clearing it with the artist’s actual managers.
— Karina (@Karina_Joy) January 18, 2016
Lead image via Flickr.