Melbourne, Sep 25 (ANI): Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has slammed reports that his 100-million-dollar donation to schools was just a trick to clean his image on the same day as the New York premiere of 'The Social Network'- an unflattering movie about his rise.
In a conference call with Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Zuckerberg called his gift an "investment" in leaders he trusted to create "a national symbol of educational excellence."
Reports that the gift's announcement was a means of image control for Zuckerberg drew grumbles from all three men.
Zuckerberg contended that "the timing was really driven by the needs of Newark," and that he would have liked to have made the donation to Newark public schools anonymously.
Booker said they expected "natural cynicism" about the coincidence and that it took "long hauls" to convince Zuckerberg's corporate team to make the announcement.
He also said that any scepticism would be long gone once the funds were actually helping Newark's schools in the future.
Zuckerberg claimed that he had been interested in putting money into education for some time, and while he "admires organizations like Teach For America and charter schools" he thought investing in leaders already committed to reforming public education, like Booker and Christie, would make the "biggest impact."
Zuckerberg officially announced the partnership with Booker and Christie on the 'Oprah Winfrey Show'.
The announcement was supposed to be secret, though details were leaked by The Star Ledger in New Jersey earlier this week.
Winfrey also mentioned the timing issue.
"Some people undoubtedly are going to be criticizing the timing of Mark's announcement because we know that there is an unauthorized movie coming out about Mark and Facebook," news.com.au quoted Winfrey as saying.
However, she later reiterate that his donation had been in the works for months and he had to be convinced to come on her show. (ANI)