Following Kyle Rittenhouse’s full acquittal, future fundraising pages seeking to raise money for the teen are allowed once again on the GoFundMe website, the U.S. crowdfunding platform announced on Friday.
In a statement issued on Nov. 19, the platform explained that in light of Rittenhouse’s trial, it took down multiple pages that were launched for the teen’s legal defense. The platform said it did so “as part of our regular monitoring efforts.”
GoFundMe’s terms of service say that people cannot use the site to raise funds “for the legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind.”
The platform said in its latest statement that “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 and, for example, the purpose is clearly stated and the correct beneficiary is added to the fundraiser,” it explained.
Rittenhouse, who was on trial for the deaths of two men on a night of riots and protests last year in Wisconsin, was found not guilty on all five charges on Friday afternoon. A jury decided in a verdict the teen acted in self-defense.
At the time GoFundMe took down multiple pages seeking to raise money for Rittenhouse’s legal defense, a number of fundraisers remained live for people arrested for crimes during demonstrations. Over $1 million has been raised for a bail fund for people arrested for protesting in Portland, where riots have taken place nearly every night since May 28.
Another example of a page that remained active on the platform was the defense fund for Marc Wilson, a 21-year-old student from Georgia who claims he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed a 17-year-old girl in a purported road rage incident, Fox News reported.
Wilson is currently on trial for murder in the case, the network reported. The same GoFundMe page that was created for him a few days after Rittenhouse’s defense funds were stripped remains on the platform.
GoFundMe said in the statement they removed “hundreds of other fundraisers” last year between August and December that were unrelated to Rittenhouse.
The Trust & Safety team for the platform determined if the fundraising pages were in violation of their policy that people cannot use the website to raise funds for the legal defense of alleged crimes as cited in its terms of service.
After Rittenhouse’s full acquittal on Nov. 19, people took to the streets in Chicago, New York City, Oakland, and Portland, among some other cities, to voice their dissatisfaction with the verdict.
President Joe Biden on Friday asked Americans to express their views peacefully following the acquittal.
“While the verdict in Kenosha will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken,” Biden said.
“I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law. Violence and destruction of property have no place in our democracy,” he added.
Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.