What better way to smooth over a Hollywood-cooked public relations disaster than by feeding $100 million to schools in need?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg-who is being relentlessly derided by former acquaintances and business partners in the build-up to a movie about the social network's creation-is donating $100 million to help improve public schools in Newark, N.J.
Zuckerberg, along with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker, will announce the gift, geared to start a foundation for education, on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" Sept. 24, according to The New York Times.
Zuckerberg, who grew up in Dobbs Ferry, New York, has no formal ties to Newark. The Times said Zuckerberg and Booker met at a conference this summer. There, Booker told the CEO of the world's leading social network, which has more than 500 million users, about his plans for the city.
The $100 million number is an astronomical sum for this type of gift, and it marks the largest donation Zuckerberg has ever made.
Coincidentally, or not, Zuckerberg's gift and appearance on one of the most popular talk shows in the world comes just hours before the film The Social Network is set to premier at the New York Film Festival.
In the movie, directed by David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club), actor Jesse Eisenberg portrays Zuckerberg in an unflattering light. A blurb on the Film Society of Lincoln Center Web site, which is airing the premier Friday, noted: "The Social Network is a scintillating play-by-play of the meteoric rise and acrimonious fall of the founders of Facebook-Harvard undergrads who developed their zeitgeist-altering phenomenon out of their dorm rooms. . .and ended up suing each other for millions."
Facebook, which is reported to abhor the film, would not comment on the veracity of the Times' report.