Observers says Chewbacca mom Candace Payne may face financial consequences as a result of gifts she received in the wake of her history-making viral video. (Courtesy Facebook)

Observers says Chewbacca mom Candace Payne may face financial consequences as a result of gifts she received in the wake of her history-making viral video. (Courtesy Facebook)

Scoop: Chewbacca mom’s fortune may have a down side

Even Forbes is weighing in on the famed Chewbacca’s mom’s good fortune. Or is it?

Forbes staffer Kelly Phillips Erb posits that affable and adorable Candace Payne, the Grand Prairie, Texas, woman whose viral video of herself laughing in a Chewbacca mask elicited gifts to the tune of nearly half a million dollars, may have to pony up to the IRS.

Payne, whose Facebook Live video has 150 million views, amusingly has been enjoying her moment in the spotlight, appearing on TV with Ellen DeGeneres and James Corden (where she also met J.J. Abrams), meeting original Chewbacca Peter Mayhew, and visiting Facebook headquarters.

She also received $3,000 in gifts from Kohl’s (where she purchased the mask), $7,500 in travel and talk show visits, and $9,000 for vacation-related goodies.

Southeastern University, a Christian college in Florida, offered free tuition at an estimated cost of $400,000. {The school’s website says “Payne has also taken the opportunity to share her Christian faith and her desire that the attention and fame she is receiving will be used to share God’s love with others.”)

But she may have to share her “gifts” with the tax man. Erb points out that when Oprah Winfrey gave away cars to her studio audience in 2004, she referred to them as prizes, not gifts; they were part of a promotion with Pontiac, resulting in “hefty” tax bills to winners of the “free” cars.

Speaking of big giveaways, E Online reports that John Oliver on Sunday was responsible for the largest one-time giveaway in TV history, when he forgave nearly $15 million in medical debt to thousands of Americans — topping Oprah’s estimated $7 million.

Oliver tweeted: “Here’s our piece on the debt buying industry from last night. Your move, Oprah.”


Notable among local Emmy Awards presented Saturday at SF JAZZ Center was Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s winner for an arts segment called ““Baseballet” featuring Smuin Ballet dancers Weston Krukow, Ben Needham-Wood, and Weston’s dad, Giants announcer and former pitcher Mike Krukow; the gorgeous short was produced and photographed by
Devon Fox, Sean Maddison and Michael Phillips.


Meryl Streep portrayed Donald Trump and Christine Baranski played Hillary Clinton Monday at the Shakespeare in the Park Public Theater Gala in New York. … A 12-year-old girl vomited on Paula Abdul after her audition on “So You Think You Can Dance.” …. A free installation at Cibo offices at 649 Front St. in The City invites visitors to play with sea mosnters (and learn about motion control capabilities.)


Fiddler Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek is 35. … Guitarist Derek Trucks is 37. … TV host Maria Menounos is 38. … Rapper Kanye West is 39. … Actress Julianna Margulies is 49. … Actor-director Keenan Ivory Wayans is 58. … “Dilbert” cartoonist Scott Adams is 59. … Singer Bonnie Tyler is 65. … Country guitarist Tony Rice is 65. … Actress Sonia Braga is 66. … Novelist Sara Paretsky is 69. … Singer Nancy Sinatra is 76. … Comedian Jerry Stiller is 89. … Former First Lady Barbara Bush is 91.

— Staff, wire reports

Candace PayneChewbacca momJohn OliverOprah

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