You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

GoFundMe cancels Freedom Convoy and will donated the $9M to charity

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 05/02/2022 Natasha Anderson For Dailymail.Com

GoFundMe officially cancelled the Freedom Convoy fundraiser on Friday and plans to distribute the remaining $9million of donated funds to 'credible and established charities'. 

The crowdfunding platform claimed the fundraiser -  which raised $10million Canadian dollars ($8 million USD) in support truckers protesting against COVID-19 vaccine mandates - violated its terms of service 'which prohibits the promotion of violence and harassment'.

'GoFundMe supports peaceful protests and we believe that was the intention of the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser when it was first created,' the company said in a statement released Friday evening. 

'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 issued a statement Friday night saying the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser violated its terms of service 'which prohibits the promotion of violence and harassment © Provided by Daily Mail GoFundMe issued a statement Friday night saying the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser violated its terms of service 'which prohibits the promotion of violence and harassment

The decision comes one day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a military response to the protests was 'not in the cards right now' and the House of Commons Public Safety and National Security Committee called on GoFundMe to detail how it would ensure donations weren't being used to promote extremism and hate. 

Meanwhile, Freedom Convoy organizer Tamara Lich announced Friday night that they have teamed up with GiveSendGo, another online platform, to continue raising funds for the truckers.

'GiveSendGo is going to to enable us to get donations into the hands of truckers much, much quicker,' she said in a video published by Rumble.

'If you can donate and help us keep these truckers going - we plan to be here for the long haul, as long as it takes to ensure that your rights and freedoms are restored.'

GoFundMe suspended the Freedom Convoy fundraiser for internal review on Wednesday after it had accrued more than $10million in donations.

The company had previously released $1million to organizers after they 'provided a clear distribution plan… and confirmed funds would be used only for participants who traveled to Ottawa to participate in a peaceful protest.'

The organizers claimed the funds would be used for expenses such as fuel, food and lodging, with any leftover donations being gifted to a 'credible Veterans organization which will be chosen by the donors.' 

GoFundMe announced Friday they will no longer be releasing funds to the organizers because of 'how this situation has evolved'. 

'No further funds will be directly distributed to the Freedom Convoy organizers,' the company statement read. 'We will work with organizers to send all remaining funds to credible and established charities chosen by the Freedom Convoy 2022 organizers and verified by GoFundMe.' 

The company said donors have until February 19 to request a refund. 

© Provided by Daily Mail

Trudeau and some of his his Liberal Party allies have accused the convoy demonstrators of extremism and racism, a charge that Lich strongly denied on Thursday. 

'We are here out of love for our families, our communities and our nation. These past two years, the covid mandates have divided us,' she said in a statement. 

'This protest began because of the federal government's restrictions on truckers' freedoms. Our movement has grown in Canada and across the world because common people are tired of the mandates and restrictions in their own lives that now seem to be doing more harm than good,' she added.

The Ottawa Police Department thanked GoFundMe for discontinuing the fundraiser © Provided by Daily Mail The Ottawa Police Department thanked GoFundMe for discontinuing the fundraiser

'We are therefore calling on all levels of government in Canada to end all covid mandates and restrictions. We will continue our protest until we see a clear plan for their elimination.'


Video: Response to Islamophobia claims (Sky News)

The platform reportedly began refunding donations collected for the Freedom Convoy earlier this week although the company had not yet canceled the fundraiser.

Brad Maier, a convoy donor, said received an email from GoFundMe on Wednesday alerting him that his donation would be refunded but was given no explanation as to why. 

'The email looks legitimate, I just want to wait and see if it actually gets refunded to my credit card,' he told the Montreal Gazette. 'Then I will know if it’s legit.'

Others social media users had also reported unexplained refunds from GoFundMe.   

GoFundMe repeatedly flip-flopped over whether it would allow the Freedom Convoy fundraiser to continue. 

Since last weekend, hundreds of long-haul truckers have blockaded Parliament Hill in Ottawa as well as a key border crossing between Alberta and Montana, railing against vaccine mandates and other pandemic restrictions.  

Organizers and participants - although many have remained peaceful - have been accused of calling their political opponents Nazis, waving swastikas and Confederate flags, and threatening an insurrection against the Canadian government, the Conservation reported.     

Brad Maier, who supported the convoy fundraiser, claims he received an email from GoFundMe on Wednesday alerting him that his donation would be refunded © Provided by Daily Mail Brad Maier, who supported the convoy fundraiser, claims he received an email from GoFundMe on Wednesday alerting him that his donation would be refunded

Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly said earlier this week that 'all options' were on the table, including calling in the military, to end the ongoing demonstration that some on the city council are calling an 'occupation.'   

Trudeau, responding to Sloly's remarks Thursday, said the government must be 'very, very cautious' about deploying troops on Canadian soil, adding that there has been no such request to the federal government. But he said that any formal requests for assistance from the City of Ottawa or Ontario will be considered. 

The Ottawa Police Department, taking to Twitter Friday, thanked GoFundMe for discontinuing the fundraiser. 

'We want to thank GoFundMe for listening to our concerns as a City and a police service,' the department wrote. 'The decision to withhold funding for these unlawful demonstrations is an important step and we call on all crowdfunding sites to follow.' 

The Freedom Convoy fundraiser was first frozen last week, when it totaled $5million in donations, because GoFundMe wanted to determine exactly where the funds would go. 

It was provided with an explanation by the organizers and two days later, seemingly satisfied, the crowdfunding site unlocked the account allowing donations to continue and released $1million in donated funds. 

On Wednesday, it was frozen again, after days of political pressure from left-wing politicians who have blasted the truckers as 'mercenaries.' The company issued a statement saying: 'This fundraiser is currently paused and under review to ensure it complies with our terms of service and applicable laws and regulations 

'Our team is working 24/7 and doing all we can to protect both organizers and donors. Thank you for your patience.'

GoFundMe later clarified the account met its terms and services at the time of its creation last month. 

'We strictly prohibit user content that reflects or promotes behavior in support of violence - in this case, the organizer met our requirements and the fundraiser did not violate our Terms of Service at the time of creation.'

Organizers and participants - although many have remained peaceful - have been accused of calling their political opponents Nazis, waving swastikas and Confederate flags, and threatening an insurrection against the Canadian government

Organizers and participants - although many have remained peaceful - have been accused of calling their political opponents Nazis, waving swastikas and Confederate flags, and threatening an insurrection against the Canadian government
© Provided by Daily Mail

The company claimed Thursday it was monitoring the fundraiser to ensure the money - raised from more than 120,000 donations - goes to the intended recipients, and went on to detail the criteria on how it intends to discern the integrity and transparency of the organizers of the fundraiser.

'As the activity surrounding the protest evolves, we have been monitoring the fundraiser to ensure the funds are going to the intended recipients and that the fundraiser remains within our Terms of Service.

'Our monitoring includes maintaining close communication with the organizer as well as collaborating with local law enforcement,' GoFundMe said.

© Provided by Daily Mail

'This process takes time and may slow down the withdrawal process. If the fundraiser does violate our Terms of Service or does not directly benefit the intended beneficiary, we will remove it from the platform,' the site added at the time. 

Similarly, Facebook has also removed a page used by American truckers to organize a convoy to Washington DC.

Meta, the social media platform's parent company, told Fox News the Convoy to DC 2022 group was removed 'for repeatedly violating our policies around QAnon'. 

Trucker Jeremy Johnson, who established the group, claims his personal Facebook account was also removed, prompting him to contact a civil rights attorney about his options moving forward.

'It's censorship at its finest,' he said. 'They like to silence people that speak the truth.'

Lich, who launched a TikTok account Friday night as a way to provide updates to convoy supporters, claims her Facebook account has also been suspended. 

Read more
AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Daily Mail

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon