|Profiting from Michael Brown’s death is not okay.Tell GoFundMe: Take down the Darren Wilson fundraisers, and return all profits immediately.|
The online fundraising platform GoFundMe is profiting off racially-motivated donors, some of whom are celebrating the police killing of Michael Brown.
In the past week, a fundraising effort has been started to support Darren Wilson, the officer responsible for the police killing of Michael Brown.
They were so successful with their first page, that they’ve started a second page, raising over $300,000 so far. And GoFundMe takes 5% of every donation processed, meaning the company has made more than $15,000.
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 pages are still up. (2)
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.
GoFundMe’s 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 this fundraiser is in violation of these terms, specifically “financial exploitation of a crime.” (3)
GoFundMe should return any money it has made from Darren Wilson fundraising pages, and take them down right away. Profiting off the killing of Michael Brown is not okay. Profiting off of racially-motivated donors is not okay.
Right now, as the entire country is paying attention, we can pressure GoFundMe to end this disturbing fundraising effort.
Thanks and peace,
–Arisha, Rashad, Matt, Bhavik, and the ColorOfChange team
- “Tweeps Demand GoFundMe Remove Darren Wilson Support Page“, ColorLines, 08-22-2014.
- “GoFundMe defends Darren Wilson fundraising page despite racist postings“, The Guadian, 08-22-2014.
- “Terms & Conditions“, GoFundMe.