Billionaire Elon Musk called out GoFundMe for employing a double standard after the crowdfunding platform blocked people from donating to the Freedom Convoy, an ongoing protest against COVID-19 restrictions in Canada.
What is the background?
GoFundMe shut down fundraising efforts for the Freedom Convoy after declaring that demonstrators had violated GoFundMe's terms of service, citing rules against the promotion of violence and harassment.
The decision was made, GoFundMe explained, after a "review of relevant facts and multiple discussions with local law enforcement and city officials," the same people who oppose the protest. "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," GoFundMe claimed.
All donations will be returned to donors, GoFundMe said on Saturday, after initially saying the money would be distributed to charities, a decision that triggered backlash. Of the approximately $10 million raised, only $1 million had been distributed to protest organizers.
What is the double standard?
Comparing GoFundMe to "professional thieves," Musk called out GoFundMe for platforming the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest that happened in Seattle two years ago.
"Double-standard?" Musk questioned on Twitter.
In fact, while GoFundMe claimed the Freedom Convoy violated its terms of service because "the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation," GoFundMe raised no concerns about allowing support — and even promoting — the infamous CHOP occupation.
Linking to a story about a farmer who was gardening inside the CHOP, GoFundMe tweeted in 2020, "In a community with no police, this farmer is feeding people & bringing them closer together. Learn how you can support Marcus' mission within the CHOP."
Far-left protesters seized six blocks of downtown Seattle in early June 2020 as protests and riots swept across the nation in the aftermath of George Floyd's death. The CHOP, despite having strong communist overtones, was initially praised as peaceful, but violence quickly took over.
Days after protesters took over the area, then-Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said that assaults, rapes, and other violent crimes were happening in the area — but officers were being prevented from responding.
"Our calls for service have more than tripled," Best said. "These are responses to emergency calls — rapes, robberies, and all sorts of violent acts that have been occurring in the area that we're not able to get to."