When it was announced last week that the Oregon bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa was looking at fines of $135K for breaking public accommodation laws in regard to refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, anti-gay activists took to GoFundMe to collect money from strangers to pay the fine.
In a matter of hours, $114K was raised. But then GoFundMe pulled the campaign saying the site could not be used to support those charged with breaking the law.
Today we’re updating our terms to help address some confusion around how GoFundMe goes about reviewing campaigns and deciding what will be permitted on our platform.
Specifically, we would like to clarify that GoFundMe relies on information from law enforcement and government agencies to help determine what actions our team will take regarding questionable campaigns. We would also like to acknowledge that while we cannot conduct in-depth investigations on every campaign that is created, we do reserve the right to act on pertinent information as it becomes available to us.
GoFundMe will not allow campaigns that benefit individuals or groups facing formal charges or claims of serious violations of the law. The amended term can be found under the ‘What’s Not Allowed’ section of our terms, as well as below:
Campaigns in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts
We are also informing users that GoFundMe reserves the right to share the content from a deleted campaign with law enforcement, donors or stated beneficiaries who wish to file a police report about any misuse of fundraising proceeds. The added language can be found below:
By using GoFundMe, Users are representing and warranting that all donations received are being given and being used solely for the purpose(s) stated within the content of the User’s campaign. We reserve the right to provide information relating to your campaign with donors and beneficiaries of your campaign, and with law enforcement or to assist in any investigation.
Bolding is mine.
GoFundMe did announce last week that although the Sweet Cakes campaign came down, the donated funds up to that point would still go to the anti-gay bakers.