In just five days, more than 5,000 people have donated more than $200,000 to GoFundMe’s Support Officer Darren Wilson page. Wilson is the officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson nearly two weeks ago.
Someone with the username "Stand Up" started the fundraiser on Sunday and says "proceeds will be sent directly to Darren Wilson and his family for any financial needs they may have including legal fees." The effort has been wildly successful, and the campaign keeps hiking up its goal–it’s up to $250,000 now.
As a crowdfunding platform, GoFundMe collects five percent of each donation–meaning that at the time of publication, GoFundMe stands to profit $10,924.10, and that number is expected to rise.
Aside from the moral issue attached to profiting off of Michael Brown’s death, critics are pointing out that fundraising supporters have made blatantly racist comments on the site–both are potentially violations of GoFundMe’s own terms, which prohibit "items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime." Wilson’s not been charged with a crime, but if he is, it’s unclear whether raising funds for his legal fees is allowed on the platform. And Wilson supporters on the site have made overtly racist comments, which Twitter users have made clear in their call for GoFundMe to remove the campaign immediately–threatening a boycott if the fundraiser isn’t pulled down.
One supporter refers to Wilson as an "animal control officer," who killed a "criminal thug":
Hey @gofundme , does this constitute hate speech, or do you guys still have wads of cash in your ears? pic.twitter.com/iwfmi6nBS5
— Chris Sweet (@EffingDecaf) August 22, 2014
Wilson supporters weigh in on a "failed experiment in diversity" and a lot more:
did you see the @gofundme where awful people are literally rewarding darren wilson with cash for killing a black guy pic.twitter.com/KLGvLPRaxZ
— jon hendren (@fart) August 21, 2014
At least one Wilson supporter impersonates Michael Brown:
OMG!!! Go Fund Me Campaign For Officer Darren Wilson Who Shot Mike Brown Has Raised $200,000 http://t.co/6RNl8XGitJ pic.twitter.com/FVcmicqKXn
— Ask Kissy (@AskKissy) August 22, 2014
One supporter calls himself Jim Crow:
Hate & money keep coming in for the Darren Wilson @gofundme campaign. You have 16 hours to delete it or we boycott. pic.twitter.com/55XPtJBp7t
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) August 22, 2014
In response, GoFundMe has removed all comments–but not the fundraiser itself:
In regard to the ‘Officer Darren Wilson’ campaign, donors’ comments posted in violation of GoFundMe’s terms have been removed.
— GoFundMe (@gofundme) August 22, 2014
The Wilson support campaign is set to wrap up in four days.