In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death, a fundraising effort was started to support Darren Wilson, the officer responsible for killing the unarmed Black teenager.
Over $433,000 has been raised, and GoFundMe takes 5% of every donation processed. This means the company has made more than $21,000.
Take a look at some of the donor comments below. (1) They will make your blood boil.
“Waste of good ammo. It’s my privilege to buy you a replacement box.”
“I thank all Police…protecting normal Americans from aggressive and entitled primitive savages.”
“Black people can be their own enemy and I am not white…He was shot 6 times cause the giant wouldn’t stop or die. Evil people don’t die quick”
“Let this ‘GoFundMe’ serve as an example to all cops in America: The general public will support you, especially if you pull the trigger on violent criminal thugs.”
That last comment is chilling, and not just because it indicts and criminalizes Black youth like Michael Brown. But because it lowers the social and financial costs of killing Black men and boys. That’s the most insidious impact of this fundraiser. It sends the message that you will be supported in the aftermath of taking Black life.
We’ve seen this before. Racist right-wingers flocked to George Zimmerman’s defense in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin murder, creating a climate of sympathy for perpetrators of violence against Black teens.
GoFundMe is the world’s #1 personal fundraising site and if we can push them to take a stand against the Darren Wilson fundraisers, it will send a strong signal. That it’s not okay to fundraise on behalf of the shooter in the aftermath of a police killing. That it won’t be tolerated, at least not on the largest and most popular platforms.
After a public outcry on Twitter, GoFundMe has taken down the hateful comments listed above, but the fundraising campaign is still up.
The thing is: simply hiding the comments is not enough. In fact, it may even do more harm because it hides the real motivations behind this type of fundraising drive.
Since we’ve started this accountability campaign, GoFundMe has felt the pressure, responding to us and publicly changing its terms of services. But it’s not enough.
Profiting off the killing of Michael Brown is not okay. Profiting off racially-motivated donors is not okay. Disturbing fundraising efforts like these have no place on the world’s most popular crowdfunding platform.
Right now, as we head into a Weekend of Resistance in Ferguson, we can pressure GoFundMe to end the Darren Wilson fundraising drive.
Thanks and peace,
–Arisha, Rashad, Matt, and Bhavik for the ColorOfChange team
GoFundMe: Stop profiting from racially-motivated donors, celebrating Michael Brown’s death
*UPDATE* – The Darren Wilson GoFundMe pages have raised over $433K for the officer responsible for killing Michael Brown. Help us reach 434,000 strong against them: one signer for every dollar they’ve raised. We’re already at 115,000 signatures and growing.
*UPDATE 2* – A Darren Wilson supporter has taken down the first page, but GoFundMe refuses to take down the second page and strengthen its use policy so that future Darren Wilsons can’t profit hundreds of thousands of dollars on their platform in the aftermath of taking Black Life.
*UPDATE 3* – Instead of taking down the Darren Wilson fundraising pages, GoFundMe threatened us with a Cease and Desist letter. But we refuse to be silenced. We responded by putting up this billboard ad in San Diego, right by GoFundMe’s offices:
Here’s the letter we’ll send to GoFundMe executives on your behalf. You can add a personal comment using the box provided.
Dear GoFundMe co-founders Brad Damphousse and Andy Ballester, and Kelsea of GoFundMe Customer Happiness,
I write demanding that you return any profits from donations for Darren Wilson on your platform. Further, please take down any related fundraising pages.
Your own terms of service prohibit “items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime.” If Darren Wilson is charged, then it would stand to reason that these fundraisers are in violation of your terms, specifically “financial exploitation of a crime.”
GoFundMe should return any money it has made from Darren Wilson fundraising pages, and take them down immediately. Profiting off the killing of Michael Brown is not okay. Profiting off of racially-motivated donors is not okay.
These types of disturbing fundraising efforts have no place on the world’s #1 personal fundraising site.
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