Yesterday we reported that James Alex Fields Jr., the man who allegedly drove his car into a group of counter-protestors in Charlottesville over the weekend killing Heather Heyer and wounding several others, could not afford legal representation for his defense. To further complicate matters, the public defender is related to one of the victims and therefore likely to be recused from representing Fields. As predicted, a GoFundMe account was set up to raise money for Fields' defense, but the fundraising platform came through and shut down "multiple" campaigns for Fields before they could gain any traction. GoFundMe strategic communications director Bobby Whithorne told Reuters, "Those campaigns did not raise any money and they were immediately removed." He went on to say that GoFundMe will delete similar campaigns if more are created.
In the past murderers like George Zimmerman who killed Trayvon Martin in 2012, and Darren Wilson who fatally shot Michael Brown in 2014, were able to rake in huge profits thanks to fundraising campaigns. Now many online platforms are taking a strong stance against such foolery. Last week Airbnb canceled several accounts and bookings associated with the Charlottesville rally, GoDaddy just recently dropped the Daily Stormer from its domain-hosting services. When the white supremacy site tried to register with Google, they were swiftly shut down.
While these major platforms want no part of the hate, there are other smaller sites that are perfectly willing to do the bidding for supremacist, including crowd funding site Rootbocks, which uses the tagline "No Censorship. No Limits." While Fields' supporters are finding ways to work around these roadblocks, it's encouraging to witness major platforms taking their stance on the right side of history.