Three Cups of Bitter Tea: One Man’s Mission to Deceive the World…One Lie at a Time
The recent 60 Minutes expose on Greg Mortenson, co-author of Three Cups of Tea and famous philanthropist, provides a damning glimpse into Mortenson’s fabricated world.
Some of the schools he claims to have started don’t exist; others stand empty or house spinach. Some of the schools that do exist claim they haven’t received a penny of funding in years.
Mortenson billed his charity in one year for almost $2 million in travel and book tour/advertising expenses, even though the charity receives no royalties from his works. Some of those fees consisted of private jet flights. Pennies for schools but private jets for authors. More money was spent on domestic “outreach” expenses–i.e. book tours than on building and operating schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
If allegations are to be believed, his premise for deciding to open schools in Afghanistan is completely fabricated. I.e., he never stumbled into a small village after failing to climb K2, was never nursed back to health by the villagers, never vowed to return to fulfill his promise to a young girl that he would build her village a school.
In full disclosure, I started reading Three Cups of Tea years ago and could not get into it at all, so I read only one chapter. I never read his second book, either. As a result, all the parts of his books that are being targeted as lies are unfamiliar to me. Apparently Mortenson describes being kidnapped by the Taliban, but upon further investigation 60 Minutes reveals that the people wielding AK-47s next to him in a published photo were his unofficial body guards, not his kidnappers, according to one of the so-called kidnappers.
Maybe Mortenson should team up with James Frey (author of A Million Little Pieces, also discovered to be a grossly exaggerated memoir) so that the two liars can shed some light on what motivates a person to lie and then publish lies and then promote those lies over and over to the public and then deny the lies when the truth rears its ugly little fact-finding head.
What is incredible about this is that no one blew the whistle for years! How is it that his books and charity could become such a widespread sensation with no accountability? What does that say about the information that travels between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States?