GoFundMe has reportedly changed its tune after it originally vowed to distribute money raised for truckers on strike to “verified charities.” The site reportedly said it will return all the money to donors.
Truckers in Canada went on strike to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates. They called themselves the “Freedom Convoy.” Reports indicated the truckers created banners that said “F–k Trudeau.”
A GoFundMe fundraiser for the convoy reportedly raised $10 million to provide food, fuel, and lodging for the protest. $1 million was reportedly distributed to the convoy before the fundraiser was suspended.
“We are a peaceful country that has helped protect nations across the globe from tyrannical governments who oppressed their people, and now it seems it is happening here,” the convoy said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that the convoy disturbed and vandalized local soup kitchens and monuments, according to Deseret News .
“Canadians were shocked and frankly disgusted by the behavior displayed by some people protesting in our nation’s capital,” Trudeau reportedly said. “We won’t give in to those who fly racist flags. We won’t cave to those who engage in vandalism or dishonor the memory of our veterans.”
In response to Trudeau’s comments, the fundraising platform GoFundMe reportedly announced it would withhold the remaining $9 million raised for the truckers and distribute them to other charities.
GoFundMe then reportedly suspended the fundraiser and said it promoted violence and harassment in Ottawa.
“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 said.
According to The New York Post, GoFundMe said the funds would be distributed to “credible and established charities” verified by GoFundMe.
The platform was slammed online for the move and some accused the platform of taking the money for political causes.
“At the request of Trudeau, @GoFundMe has just stolen $9,000,000 from the truckers,” Ezra Levant, publisher of Rebel News, tweeted. “Rather than automatically refunding it to the donors, they say they’re going to give it to groups of their own choosing. What a windfall for Black Lives Matter, Greenpeace and Planned Parenthood!”
“Trudeau’s government just demanded that the bank account of an opposition group be seized,” Levant continued. “That’s what they do in Venezuela and Russia. They expropriate their opponents [sic] property, seize their assets — and then prosecute them on trumped up charges.”
GoFundMe then reportedly reversed its decision due to “donor feedback.”
“To simplify the process for our users, we will be refunding all donations to the Freedom Convoy 2022 fundraiser,” the platform said. “This refund will happen automatically—you do not need to submit a request. Donors can expect to see refunds within 7-10 business days.”
“The update we issued earlier enabled all donors to get a refund and outlined a plan to distribute remaining funds to verified charities selected by the Freedom Convoy organizers,” GoFundMe continued. “However, due to donor feedback, we are simplifying the process and automatically refunding donations.”