A former “Dancing with the Stars” contestant, and Disney darling, ruffled a lot of feathers recently with some social media activity. Skai Jackson partnered with Alan Bersten on season 29 of DWTS and the Couple finished in 5th place. The former “Jessie” and “Bunk’d” star has continued to work fairly steadily since those Disney shows ended, her IMDb indicates, but some recent social media activity left some fans wondering if she was in a financially tough spot.
Here’s what you need to know:
Skai Jackson Promoted a Raffle She Created
On July 10, the New York Post detailed that Jackson had promoted a raffle via her social media pages, but some of her followers questioned her approach. The premise of the raffle was that someone would win an Apple MacBook laptop computer. However, those who wanted to enter the raffle needed to pay Jackson a fee of $5 to be able to participate. When people pushed back against having to pay to enter a celebrity’s raffle, she did a live on her TikTok page to try to explain.
“It is not that serious, for a damn $5. It is called a raffle, I don’t know if you guys have been to school before but I know I’ve been to school and we used to have raffles all the time,” the former “Dancing with the Stars” contestant detailed. She added, “The money goes toward the prize, and like I said, if there’s anything left over I’m doing a second giveaway soon. So that’s what [the money is] going toward.” Even with that explanation, the backlash continued.
Jackson Faced Criticism & Questions Regarding the Raffle’s Legality
Jackson faced questions regarding whether she might have created the raffle because she personally needed money. She rejected that theory, telling everybody, “I do not need money. Me personally, I do not need money. And I’m not saying this like, in a bragging way or anything like that, or in a mean way. I’m just letting you guys know I do not personally need money. Like I am very fine in my life.”
Not only did some people wonder if Jackson created the raffle because she needed money, and criticize her doing it to begin with, but several people also questioned whether what she was doing was legal.
“Raffles are also supposed to be licensed/permitted by the state. You can’t just have a ‘raffle’ without it being properly permitted. It’s illegal,” one Redditor noted in the “Pop Culture Chat” subreddit.
“Ohh this is sad. When you have to pick-pocket your fans to make a quick buck, you’re essentially a thief. Which is surprising to me in Skai’s case, because she should be able to find work?? Why be a scammer,” questioned another Redditor.
“I love how she is comparing it to school raffles. What she is doing is not = to a school raffle. School raffles are not for profit and raise funds to provide for a school or booster group,” someone else added.
A separate Redditor commented, “‘It’s not that serious’ Girl your state’s gambling commission might have something to say about that…”
As a document from the California State Office of the Attorney General details, there are strict rules regarding raffles in the state, which is where Jackson lives. The guidelines note, in part, that “Operating or conducting a raffle via the Internet” is prohibited, and “At least 90 percent of the gross receipts from raffle ticket sales must be used by the eligible tax-exempt organization to benefit or support beneficial or charitable purposes in California.” Raffles generally must be registered with the Attorney General’s Office, and as the California Association of Nonprofits notes, “In California, only nonprofit organizations can legally conduct raffles.”
Jackson Went Ahead With the Raffle Despite Criticism
Despite the criticism, it seems Jackson went ahead with the raffle. On July 8, she shared via Twitter, “This is the winner for the Macbook that has been selected days ago! Congratulations to Lele and her internship!!” The former “Dancing with the Stars” contestant shared screenshots of the winner’s social Instagram page and the direct messages the two exchanged. Quite a few fans on Twitter shared congratulatory notes in response, but not all of the subsequent tweets were supportive.
“So basically all of Skai’s fans pooled their money together to buy 1 fan a Mac? A celebrity is supposed to buy it & the money given goes to charity,” tweeted one critic.
Another asked, “So what you do with the rest of the money?”
“Why is Lele thanking you? She should be thanking everybody that gave you the $5,” suggested someone else.
“Asking kids for money on live as a celeb is crazy,” a Twitter user noted.