GoFundMe lifts ban on Rittenhouse fundraisers after acquittal

Company says current terms of service prohibit raising money for legal defense of alleged violent criminals.

Updated: November 22, 2021 - 12:09am

GoFundMe, the online charitable fundraising site, has ended its ban on fundraisers for Kyle Rittenhouse after his acquittal on charges related to a fatal Kenosha, Wis., shooting.

The Web site announced its decision over the weekend, saying it bans all legal defense money raising for accused violent criminals but a trial verdict can change that ban.

"GoFundMe’s Terms of Service prohibit raising money for the legal defense of an alleged violent crime," it said. "In light of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, we want to clarify when and why we removed certain fundraisers in the past."

"Once charges for a violent crime were brought against Kyle Rittenhouse in 2020, GoFundMe removed fundraisers that were started for the defendant’s legal defense. We did this as part of our regular monitoring efforts; in addition to those fundraisers, our Trust & Safety team removed hundreds of other fundraisers between August and December 2020 — unrelated to Rittenhouse — that we determined were in violation of this long-standing policy.

It added: "If someone is acquitted of those charges, as Rittenhouse was today, a fundraiser started subsequently for their legal defense and other expenses would not violate this policy. A fundraiser to pay lawyers, cover legal expenses or to help with ongoing living expenses for a person acquitted of those charges could remain active as long as we determine it is not in violation of any of our other terms."