I don’t know who needs to hear this but when you choose the side of violent rioters and looters over law enforcement and business owners, it’s a bad look, especially for a presidential campaign. It is being reported that some members of Joe Biden’s campaign staff have contributed to a fund in Minnesota that provides bail money for the protesters who are being arrested.
While the contributions are not confirmed to be officially linked with the Biden campaign, thirteen campaign staffers have taken part in a matching donation option presented by Minnesota Freedom Fund. Staffers posted tweets that donations have been made. Biden’s campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told Reuters that Joe Biden opposes cash bail. He calls it a “modern-day debtors prison.”
Minnesota Freedom Fund opposes the practice of making people who are arrested pay money to avoid pre-trial imprisonment. The group has raised over $20M in just four days following the death of George Floyd. For comparison purposes, the group raised about $75,000 to $80,000 in 2020 before the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police officer. The increased donations include about 150,000 unique donors, according to Forbes. The non-profit fund has raised so much money, as a matter of fact, that they now encourage donations to other organizations.
The non-profit is no longer actively soliciting donations and encouraging people to donate to George Floyd’s family and other local organizations run by black community members, such as Black Visions Collective, Reclaim the Block and Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar.
On Friday and Saturday morning, 69 people were arrested in connection with the protests, and Boland said bail costs in Hennepin County are reaching $1,000.
“Whether from MN or outside our area, we believe the money bail system is inherently biased and we will urge officials to avoid using money bail as a tool. If they do hold people pending bail, then people incarcerated in Minnesota who meet our guidelines will be considered for relief regardless of state of origin,” Boland said.
The Fund cleverly used social media to capture the attention of celebrities, offering Twitter users an opportunity to match donations being made, thus, being able to virtue-signal that they are down with those being arrested – the rioters and looters. Biden campaign staffers were happy to announce participation on their Twitter accounts. For example, this is a tweet from a self-described “Organizer for Joe Biden for President”:
— Colleen May (@MissColleenMay) May 29, 2020
Like clockwork, actors and celebrities jumped on the bandwagon to prove their wholeness. Once the matching fund challenge began on Thursday, “dozens” of donations from the entertainment field have come in, usually around the $50 level of contribution.
The chain linking Twitter users to the fund gained even more traction when it was retweeted by the Safdie brothers, two notable independent directors whose recent filmography includes the critically acclaimed 2019 movie Uncut Gems starring Adam Sandler and Idina Menzel.
— SAFDIE (@JOSH_BENNY) May 28, 2020
After this tweet, other Hollywood heavyweights took notice. Since Thursday, Seth Rogen, Ben Schwartz and Steve Carell have all commented that they matched donations to help protesters make bail.
— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) May 28, 2020
As of Friday morning, other celebrities, including actor and singer Janelle Monáe, television presenter and activist Jameela Jamil, actor Patton Oswalt, and actor and former New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon have donated and tweeted out their support for Minnesota protesters.
Celebrities and public figures often get involved to shine a light on injustice. In 2015, you may remember, Beyoncé and Jay-Z reportedly donated “tens of thousands of dollars” to bail out protesters arrested in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray. But choosing to help bail out those committing violence and mayhem instead of peacefully marching or gathering as a group to voice opposition to a current event is not the way to go. What is the incentive to stop violent behavior if the people being arrested at the scene know they’ll be out in no time, at no expense of their own?
Porsha Williams, a granddaughter of an early civil rights leader Hosea Williams in Atlanta, joined in with the Atlanta protest Friday night. Williams is currently a cast member on the Real Housewives of Atlanta and Dish Nation.
“We are done, we are tired, and we are not going to take it anymore,” Williams told CBS. “What is going on here in Black America is not OK. We are not OK. We just want to live, and I am here today to make sure that everybody understands that Black lives matter.”
The celebrity tweets received reactions from those not enamored with violent protesters as you would expect. Many responses pointed to involvement by Antifa and other professional agitators. Then there was a response by a writer at Jezebel who blasted the celebs for what she considers a lack of generosity. She calls out people like Steve Carrell and Seth Rogen who apparently contributed at the matching funds level of $50. During an imaginary conversation with her broom (the quarantine has done strange things to some people), she notes that the wealthy celebrities should be contributing at a much higher level.
But then I realized it was a $50 donation that these extremely rich people were all matching—a paltry sum for any of them, I would imagine. “This is actually not wonderful.”
So, there’s that. Even when celebrities are trying to maintain their official woke status, it’s not enough.