Main | Friday, May 01, 2015

GoFundMe Clarifies Policy: You Can't Raise Money In Defense Of Discriminatory Acts

Last week GoFundMe yanked the fundraising page for Oregon's Sweet Cakes bakery after complaints that the money beg was in violation of their posted ban on "campaigns in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual acts." The cancellation spawned immediately outrage across Teabagistan and many calls for a boycott of GoFundMe. Today the crowdfunding site clarifies its policy to explicitly ban campaigns to support those charged with "discriminatory acts."
Today we’re updating our terms to help address some confusion around how GoFundMe goes about reviewing campaigns and deciding what will be permitted on our platform. Specifically, we would like to clarify that GoFundMe relies on information from law enforcement and government agencies to help determine what actions our team will take regarding questionable campaigns. We would also like to acknowledge that while we cannot conduct in-depth investigations on every campaign that is created, we do reserve the right to act on pertinent information as it becomes available to us. GoFundMe will not allow campaigns that benefit individuals or groups facing formal charges or claims of serious violations of the law. The amended term can be found under the ‘What’s Not Allowed’ section of our terms. We are also informing users that GoFundMe reserves the right to share the content from a deleted campaign with law enforcement, donors or stated beneficiaries who wish to file a police report about any misuse of fundraising proceeds.
The new banning language: "Campaigns in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts." The Heritage Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom are ever so pissed:
The difference in the wording of the policy is significant because neither the Christian bakers—Aaron and Melissa Klein—nor the Washington florist who also had her account shut down broke any criminal laws. Instead, both businesses were found guilty of violating civil anti-discrimination laws. “GoFundMe has the freedom to make their own policies and do business with whom they choose. That’s what makes it so ironic and hypocritical that GoFundMe has done the bidding of a movement that wages war against this same freedom,” Greg Scott, a spokesman for Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal organization that assists in cases like the Kleins, told The Daily Signal. "GoFundMe has facilitated fundraising for inane things like sending a man to a stranger’s bachelor party, but have now cut off families who face financial ruin and who’ve had their fundamental freedoms obliterated by unjust government action. If there is a better example of a company and culture with its priorities and loyalties completely upside down, I can’t think of it."
Before the page was yanked supporters of Sweet Cakes had raised $114K. It appears that the bakery will still get that money.

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