Involuntary Charity Donation
Steal a villain's money for yourself, and it may be easy for him to take it back (particularly if he has no compunctions about killing you). But what if you steal it and donate it to charity? Even if he can get it back, there'll probably be no way for him to do so without tarnishing his public image. Bonus irony is accrued if the charity in some way makes up for the villain's misdeeds. This is the ultimate way to punish any Corrupt Corporate Executive who's a Slave to PR. Compare Just Like Robin Hood, a slightly more direct (and frequently more violent) style of wealth redistribution. This may be an Ending Trope, so expect unmarked spoilers.
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- A villain in the Lupin III (Red Jacket) episode "Charity Begins at Home" decided to donate all his money to charity when he was told he was about to die. When he discovered he'd been misdiagnosed, he hatched a plot to pretend Lupin had stolen his money, so he could keep it all to himself. In retaliation, Lupin tricked him into really donating his money.
- The Black Panther did this to ruin Doctor Doom. Given Doom's Joker Immunity, this is probably the closest anyone other than Squirrel Girl's gotten to actually beating him.
- After Tommy Elliot, AKA Hush, nearly killed her in an attempt to get to Batman, a recuperating Selina Kyle took every dime the Mad Doctor had and dispersed it amongst charities. "Not bad for a gutter slut", indeed!
- Two-Face did this to himself in his debut appearance, choosing to donate whenever good heads came up and to conduct a robbery when bad heads did.
- At the end of the remake of Fun with Dick and Jane, Dick and Jane forge Jack's signature to set up a relief fund for former Globodyne employees using the money Jack stole from the company. That was their plan for the last part of the movie (although they needed Jack to personally sign the transfer form), but Jack appears to thwart them by recognizing the ploy and seems to come out on top. Dick, desperate for something, demands a check from Jack. Jack writes him one for a small amount as a symbol of what he considers Dick's worth. Before Jack can transfer the money somewhere safer, Dick copies the signature on the check to a new transfer form and submits it before Jack.
- As payback for an attempted double-cross by Benedict in Ocean's Thirteen, the crew donates his entire share of the profits to charity in his name. Shortly afterward, Danny, Rusty, and Linus watch Benedict talk to Oprah about his "sudden burst of generosity". He (somewhat) willingly goes along with it, recognizing both the bad publicity of taking it back, and the good publicity of saying he did it.
- The movie Rat Race, with the twist that the winners are giving the money they won; they just also made a huge public statement that the multimillionaire who had been using them as human playthings throughout the film would match the donations made in the whole charity event.
- The main character of Sneakers does this to the Republican National Committee, sending all their money to Greenpeace. This was also done in the prologue, where the hero and the eventual Big Bad robbed then-President Nixon and donated the money to a PAC dedicated to legalizing marijuana (This might explain why the FBI was so upset with them).
- The main character of Jackie Chan's Who Am I does this to two villains who are exchanging a sum of money electronically.
- A variation. Whoopi Goldberg's character, the psychic Oda Mae Brown, does to the villain in Ghost: With Sam's help, she's able to steal the money from its special account, turn it into a check and donate it to a nuns' charity.
- This is Moriarty's final humiliation in the 2011 Sherlock Holmes movie—the money he'd raised from War for Fun and Profit goes to a fund for widows and orphans of war.
- At the end of the Double Dragon movie, the heroes use the Dragons to possess the defeated villain. The "villain" then donates all of his money to the police department and allows himself to be arrested.
- During the second performance in Now You See Me, the Four Horsemen crack their sponsor's bank account and distribute the money to Hurricane Katrina victims his company had stiffed on their insurance claims.
- This concept is more or less the entire point of Robin Hood, who in a time of crisis and unlawful taxation stole from the rich to distribute their wealth among the downtrodden.
"The weight of your purse makes you weary, I'm sure. Why not hand it to me, and if it seems too heavy, I'll share some with those who have less."
- Happens to Jon Spiro in Artemis Fowl, who gets 90% of his billions donated to Amnesty International. Artemis had intended to keep the lot for himself, but got hit by a sudden attack of conscience and satisfied himself with a 10% "Finder's Fee" (Spiro is already going to jail, so this is just salt in the wound.)
- Regularly done in the Saint books by Leslie Charteris. If Simon Templar was not retrieving money that had been stolen from someone, he would keep 10% and donate the rest to an appropriate charity.
- Repairman Jack's Annual Kid Baseball League Charity Drive. Play a helpless tourist/woman, attract a mugger, rob him, fence his valuables, donate, repeat.
- Inverted in Kevin J. Anderson's Unnatural Acts. When the ghost of a bank robber learns he can't spend any of the money he'd hidden before dying in prison, because the bank's insurance company will confiscate it, he donates it all to charity himself so they won't dare try to claim it for fear of bad publicity. (He didn't really have any use for it anyway, as a ghost.)
- In William Gibson's short story Burning Chrome the two "Console Cowboy" protagonists hack the Swiss bank account of a local mob boss and donate most of it to a dozen different charities because the sum was simply too big to move discretely and they needed to make sure that she couldn't put out a hit on them.
- Veronica Mars: Logan tells a news crew that his father Aaron will be donating half a million dollars to a homeless shelter. His father severely beats him for this.
- The protagonist of the TV series Pointman does this in an episode to the person who set him up in the pilot episode, as part of an overall plan to utterly ruin said person.
- Happens in Hannah Montana when Miley and Lilly are trying to stop the Alpha Bitch from winning a prize. However besides the usual twists that they end up having to donate the money to charity, the girl they were trying to get to win is okay with losing, because it means even more money raised for the charity.
- Power Rangers Time Force plays with this trope between Red Ranger Wes and his Rich Snob father in the episode "A Parting of Ways". After the Monster of the Week captures a bus load of children and holds them for a ransom of 10 million dollars, Wes goes to his father to ask for the money. His father refuses, so Wes tricks a business client of his father into giving him a check. Eventually the Rangers manage to save the children without giving the ransom, but Wes' father is angry with Wes for what he did. Then the press finds out about the money, and thinks Mr Collins has donated it willingly to free the hostages. Wes, who by now is fed up with his father, tells the press it was Mr. Collins' idea that he is going to donate the money to charity before packing his stuff and leaving the house.
- Arrow: Felicity does this to Sebastian Blood's bodyguard.
- Liz does this to Jack on 30 Rock when they are briefly accidentally married, giving a press conference dressed like a nouveau-riche housewife and putting on a thick Long Island accent. To add insult to injury, she uses his money to fund "The Jack and Elizabeth Donaghy High School for Teen Drama, the Arts, and Feeeelings," all concepts that repulse him.
Liz: [on TV] Jack and I pledge five million dollars to create a new generation of choreographers and puppeteers, cloons, video artists and theatrical jugglers who will ask the world, "What is art?"
Jack: We know what art is! It's paintings of horses!
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: When the action of a hacker causes the death of a SHIELD agent, Agent Coulson gives the one million dollars the hacker received to the family of that agent, then locks an electronic bracelet around the guy's wrist, preventing him from using electronic devices, and strands him in Hong Kong.
- On The Listener, a crime lord's bank account is electronically raided by a double-crossing thief, and the police arrest her. Then they tell the Smug Snake crime lord that the missing funds were (surprise!) apparently disseminated among a whole bunch of children's charities worldwide: as soon as he provides concrete proof that the account's contents were legitimately earned via legal means, they'll start tracking them down. The investigating team's computer expert is nicknamed "Robin Hood" by the others in the denouement.
- This is the basis of a mission on the Outernet official site; As an agent of the Friends, you must hack into the Tyrant's bank account and transfer his money to an ET Save The Whales group, not only crippling his operations, but adding insult to injury by supporting a good cause in his name!
- In the game Headhunter half way through the Evil Syndicate break into a bank is about to transfer all the money from all accounts of the customers to the Syndicate's account. However Jack hero Wade manages to reverse the process and the Syndicate's account gets drained.
- This is the plot of the "Let Them Eat Pie" quest in RuneScape. The war refugees from Buthorpe are starving while the disgustingly fat rich glutton lives in luxury, so the Player Character poisons him with a disgusting pie made of rotten meat, steals stationery from him while he's puking his guts out, and forges an official demand for the refugees to be given food and help for free.
- The Hair Bear Bunch corners Mr. Peevly who had just won $500 at a wrestling contest (where Botch filled in for an ill star grappler) when the superintendent arrives. The bears tell the super that Peevly is donating the $500 to the society for orphaned zoo animals.
- The rationale of the hackers behind the STRATFOR breach was supposedly this.
- In 2007, the UK's Revenue and Customs misplaced two CDs containing the personal details of all families claiming child benefit in the country, leading to concerns that the information could be used to commit fraud. Jeremy Clarkson responded to this by publishing his own details in his column in The Sun, insisting that any thief would need more information to take any money out of his account and that all the fuss was over nothing. Somebody set up a £500 direct debit from his account to a diabetes charity.
- The Yes Men are a pair of activists who are known for pulling pranks like this in order to draw attention to various issues. A full list can be seen on their Wikipedia page.