Wow. This is a doozy. Check out this 60 Minutes feature about Greg Mortenson, philanthropist and author of the bestseller Three Cups of Tea and its follow-up, Stones Into Schools.
Turns out that there is pretty compelling evidence showing that information from his supposed autobiographical books is false. 60 Minutes was able to track down some of the people involved in the stories, who backed up these claims. The charity watchdog group, American Institute of Philanthropy, is also very wary about how Greg is using donations made by the public to his charity, Central Asia Institute.
Much of the money, rather than going directly into building and supporting schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is paying for him to make his way around the country promoting his books (as CAI said, it sounds like a book tour to them). One particularly weird tale is is his claim of being kidnapped by the Taliban and held for 8 days. Afghans in the video were tracked down and they called Greg out on his lie, even producing a photo of them all with Greg holding a gun.
It should be noted that Jon Krakauer, an early supporter of Greg, says that while Greg’s not being upfront about his actions, he has still done a lot of good in Central Asia.
Too strange. Watch the video.
For the next 72 hours, Jon Krakauer is giving his ebook, “Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way“, away for free.
**update: Heather Carreiro has posted commentary about Greg’s response to the allegations. Read it here.