Recently acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse was only able to raise funds for his defense thanks to the extreme generosity of a few people that saw his case and the injustice of it and stepped in to help him out. Mike Lindell was one of those generous, heroic donors.
However, Kyle, unlike many others, was unable to raise funds on GoFundMe to pay for his legal team. Why? Well, because GoFundMe kicked him off. GoFundMe tweeted out “GoFundMe’s Terms of Service prohibit raising money for the legal defense of an alleged violent crime. In light of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, we want to clarify when and why we removed certain fundraisers in the past” and linked to a Medium post on their terms of service (that statement has since been updated to reflect Rittenhouse’s acquittal).
In the statement, the company again noted that GoFundMe could not be used to raise money for the legal defense of violent crimes and said:
Once charges for a violent crime were brought against Kyle Rittenhouse in 2020, GoFundMe removed fundraisers that were started for the defendant’s legal defense. We did this as part of our regular monitoring efforts; in addition to those fundraisers, our Trust & Safety team removed hundreds of other fundraisers between August and December 2020 — unrelated to Rittenhouse — that we determined were in violation of this long-standing policy.
The amended statement, which notes Rittenhouse’s acquittal, adds this:
If someone is acquitted of those charges, as Rittenhouse was today, a fundraiser started subsequently for their legal defense and other expenses would not violate this policy. A fundraiser to pay lawyers, cover legal expenses or to help with ongoing living expenses for a person acquitted of those charges could remain active as long as we determine it is not in violation of any of our other terms and, for example, the purpose is clearly stated and the correct beneficiary is added to the fundraiser.
The problem is that GoFundMe’s terms of service, reasonable as they might be on their face, don’t apply to everyone. While it claims it has “removed hundreds of other fundraisers” in violation of that policy, it hasn’t been removing fundraisers for leftist rioters accused of violent crimes.
Your garbage website is actively soliciting legal defense cash for violent BLM activists facing charges for felony rioting, assaulting cops, and—I kid you not—“bank robbery during [a] George Floyd riot,” not to mention the countless rioter bail funds you’re currently hosting. https://t.co/MOCp6WjItK pic.twitter.com/v3gpKxaHew
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 19, 2021
The Federalist, in an article on the topic, highlighted two of those ongoing (at the time, at least) fundraisers that were asking for money for persons accused of violent crimes, the very thing Rittenhouse’s fundraiser was kicked off the platform for:
One campaign, titled “CHARGED WITH BANK ROBBERY DURING GEORGE FLOYD RIOT,” has raised $140 of a $40,000 goal for a couple arrested in May last year.
“My girlfriend was released with no paper, but unfortunately they kept me and charged me with bank larceny,” the description reads, adding that the charges have since changed to “attempted bank robbery.”
Another titled “Fundraiser for Tuscon Arrestees” is soliciting donations for 12 people who face felony riot charges. The campaign has so far raised nearly $7,200 of a $12,000 goal.
The “Tia Pugh Legal Defense Fund” is raising money for a 22-year-old Alabama woman arrested for criminal mischief and inciting a riot. The fund has just fallen about $50 short of a $3,000 goal.
So, while GoFundMe might like to claim that in kicking off Rittenhouse it was simply upholding its longstanding and long-enforced policy, it clearly treats different crimes in different ways.
Rittenhouse defended himself from Antifa rioters and was persecuted by a vicious prosecutor; for that, he was unable to raise funds. “Tia Pugh” and Co. were the rioters; they’ve had no trouble raising funds. Apparently, the terms of service don’t apply to rioters.