CEOs Use Virtual Reality to Simulate the Experience of Being Homeless, Face Instantaneous Backlash

The rich may be even more divorced from reality than we thought.

During Vinnies CEO Sleepout in Sydney, Australia, a charity event designed to raise money for the homeless, corporate executives donned virtual reality headsets to simulate the experience of living on the streets. 

The tweet provoked a swift backlash, with several users questioning why these titans of industry couldn't just, ya know, speak with actual homeless people.

The CEOs did get something approaching an authentic taste of poverty, as participants slept in makeshift cardboard tents with pillows and a sleeping bag. These wealthy men and women were experiencing homelessness only for a single night, unlike the thousands who live in such conditions for months and even years at a time.

The Vinnies CEO Sleepout seeks to raise funds for Vinnies Homeless Services across Australia. This year’s event took place on June 22 and featured the participation of 1,479 CEOs and 35,311 additional supporters. So far, the event has raised about $5 million to fund homeless services in the country.

According to Homelessness Australia, there are currently 105,000 people living on the streets of the country, with even more people in insecure housing situations. The problem is exacerbated by the country’s housing crisis, with rapidly increasing rents pushing the poor out of their homes. 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.