Crowdfunding site GoFundMe has suspended a fundraiser for truckers involved in a “Freedom Convoy” protest, even as multiple fundraisers for the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) in Seattle remain.
The platform announced last week it had suspended the convoy’s official campaign, which had raised over $8 million, due to an assertion that “the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation.”
By contrast, the CHOP movement has a variation of the term occupation in its very title, yet GoFundMe had no issues with their fundraising efforts it seems.
You may recall that the site was an ‘autonomous zone’ established by anarchists in the city of Seattle where a police precinct was overrun and multiple people were shot – including two fatally – while numerous businesses were looted and vandalized.
“Business crashed as the Seattle police refused to respond to calls to the area. Officers did not retake the region until July 1, after four shootings, including two fatal ones,” the New York Times reported.
GoFundMe not only hosted a fundraiser for “farmers” in the CHOP zone, but they also promoted the effort with a social media post.
“In a community with no police, this farmer is feeding people & bringing them closer together,” a tweet providing a link to the still-active fundraiser reads. “Learn how you can support Marcus’ mission within the CHOP.”
In a community with no police, this farmer is feeding people & bringing them closer together.
— GoFundMe (@gofundme) July 2, 2020
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GoFundMe Freezes Money For Convoy
GoFundMe removed the fundraising page for the “Freedom Convoy” on Friday and initially said they would distribute the funds to various charities.
They later relented and said they would refund the donations.
To simplify the process for our users, we will be refunding all donations to the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser. This refund will happen automatically—you do not need to submit a request. Donors can expect to see refunds within 7-10 business days.
— GoFundMe (@gofundme) February 5, 2022
“GoFundMe supports peaceful protests and we believe that was the intention of the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser when it was first created,” they said in a statement.
“We now have evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity.”
There has been scant evidence of violence during the trucker convoy.
The convoy is a massive demonstration against the US-Canada cross-border vaccine mandate, introduced by the Government of Canada on January 15, 2022.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted a screenshot of GoFundMe’s message about the CHOP farmer captioned: “Double standard?”
Prior to that, he shared a meme asserting GoFundMe was acting like “professional thieves.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 5, 2022
More Questionable Fundraisers
Aside from the ‘farmer’ CHOP fundraiser, GoFundMe still has an active fundraiser, currently netting more than $57,000 for the “Riot Kitchen Food Truck.”
The Riot Kitchen, which was also active in the CHOP zone in Seattle, had several members arrested in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2020 after filling up gas cans as race riots raged.
The group had arrived in the city amid violent protests following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Nine people were arrested after police officers found helmets, gas masks, protective vests, illegal fireworks, and suspected controlled substances inside the group’s vehicles.
“Seattle-based activists” traveled to Wisconsin for some odd reason… https://t.co/LTR4PPvamH
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) August 30, 2020
The fundraiser is very close to its $100,000 goal.
Betts actually posted a flyer to social media that featured an image of a burning vehicle overlaid with a date and time and the words: “RIOT @ MarketPlace Mall, Time: 3.”
Lo and behold, a riot took place there.
Champaign Man Sentenced for Inciting Riot: Shamar N. Betts was sentenced to four years in federal prison for inciting a riot in Champaign, Illinois, that began on May 31, 2020, and continued overnight to June 1, 2020. https://t.co/hQae5OQ4Y5
— FBI Springfield (@FBISpringfield) August 27, 2021
After looting an Old Navy, Betts posted a video to Facebook Live in which he was seen “carrying multiple items, including numerous pairs of khaki pants with Old Navy tags attached,” and stating to a bystander, “I started this s***.”
Jesse Kidd was arrested for his role in a 2020 riot and was charged with felony rioting, two counts of felony criminal mischief, interfering with police, reckless burning, disorderly conduct, second-degree criminal mischief, and menacing.
Activists were able to raise bail funds for Kidd on GoFundMe.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has demanded that the Federal Trade Commission launch a full investigation into GoFundMe after the for-profit crowdfunding company deplatformed the Freedom Convoy’s multi-million dollar campaign. https://t.co/tJG5YrK3YA
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) February 7, 2022
On Sunday, Senator Ted Cruz demanded an FTC investigation into GoFundMe after they shut down crowdfunding efforts for the truck drivers in Canada.
“Listen, it is theft on the part of GoFundMe. Let me say – the Canadian truckers are heroes. They are patriots marching for your freedom and for my freedom,” Cruz said.
The fundraiser mentioned above all involve actual ‘occupations’ or criminal activity. The “Freedom Convoy” has seen neither of these, yet they have had their funds frozen.