A civil rights organization critical of GoFundMe’s policies has followed through on its promise to erect a billboard blasting the crowdfunding website on its home turf.
Color of Change, a group that advocates for the black community, announced Wednesday that it has put up a billboard near the GoFundMe offices in San Diego. Since August, the group has been fiercely criticizing GoFundMe’s decision to allow a fundraising effort that collected more than $400,000 on behalf of Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed African-American, on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri.
The large billboard features the hashtag #DontFundHate in a gray-and-green typeface evocative of the GoFundMe logo. The ad space is owned by Clear Channel Outdoor. The group also put up a corresponding website, DontFundHate.org.
Color of Change contends the Officer Wilson campaign is racially motivated, while GoFundMe insists it doesn't violate its terms barring hate speech or hate-fueled campaigns. (At present, Wilson hasn't been charged with a crime.) The group posted photos of the billboard on Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday, saying GoFundMe “may have the right to profit off racism, but we won’t allow them to do it secret.”
Ironically, the billboard itself was crowdfunded. Color of Change has been seeking donations through email blasts. As International Business Times reported last month, GoFundMe threatened to sue the group if it followed through with its plans. In a cease-and-desist letter obtained by IBTimes, a lawyer for the company accused Color of Change of threatening and intimidating company employees and attempting to defame the GoFundMe name.
Arisha Hatch, managing director of campaigns for Color of Change, said the group decided it was on solid legal ground after conferring with its legal team. “We know what we have a right to do,” she said at the time. “We’re a nonprofit organization and we can publicly campaign against any corporation.”