Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, September 6, 2020
It’s a cliché to say that Big Tech is shamelessly partisan, but the way it has treated Kyle Rittenhouse should be a national scandal. Mr. Rittenhouse is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder for the August 25 shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The state abolished the death penalty in 1853, but the 17-year-old will be tried as an adult and could go to jail for life.
Mr. Rittenhouse is literally in a fight for (the rest of) his life and has a right to a competent defense — but not if our media and financial masters have their way. His father set up a GoFundMe account to pay for his defense, but it didn’t last 24 hours. GoFundMe shut down the account — claiming that it supported an “activity that GoFundMe may deem in its sole discretion to be unacceptable” — and returned all contributions. The Rittenhouses switched to another site, Fundly, and quickly raised more than $50,000 but got the same treatment. Once more, all the money was refunded and the family didn’t get a dime.
The Rittenhouses had better luck with a Christian crowdfunding site called GiveSendGo, and raised more than $380,000, but on September 2, GiveSendGo’s payment processor, Discover, cut it off, making it impossible to contribute. Discover’s only explanation was that the fund was “found to be in violation of our operating regulations.”
Fortunately, Mr. Rittenhouse’s case attracted the attention of Lin Wood, a lawyer who came to national attention when he defended Richard Jewell, who was falsely accused of planting a bomb at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Mr. Wood also won settlements from CNN and the Washington Post for libeling the Kentucky high school student, Nick Sandmann. Mr. Lin has the backing of the Fight Back Foundation, which he set up before the Kenosha shootings and has a war chest of more than $600,000. According to its website, it’s purpose is to “defend the truth,” so it seems that Mr. Rittenhouse will get a competent defense despite efforts to deny him one.
And these efforts have been considerable. Twitter blocked Mr. Lin’s account for nine hours when he appealed for funds, claiming that the account was “glorifying violence.” Facebook blocked posts that explained how to contribute to the defense funds and even removed a video of Mr. Rittenhouse offering first aid to injured protesters before the shootings. Facebook’s reason? “We don’t allow symbols, praise or support of dangerous individuals.”
Facebook later went further: “We’ve designated this shooting as a mass murder and have removed the shooter’s accounts from Facebook and Instagram.” It did more than that. It erased all trace of Kyle Rittenhouse. When I searched Facebook for his name on Sept. 6, I got no results at all. He might as well have never existed.
Facebook is full of information about the men he shot. A search for “Joseph Rosenbaum,” returned scores of articles, and this one showing up first: “Kenosha shooting victims Anthony Huber, Joseph Rosenbaum remembered as ‘sweet,’ ‘loving’ guys.” I quickly found a GoFundMe page for him that had exceeded its goal of $25,000. The first result for the other man who died was “Anthony Huber, killed while protesting in Kenosha, remembered as fearless skateboarder.” And I learned that a “GoFundMe Campaigns for a Protester [Huber] Killed in Kenosha Raise Over $78,000,” which was “more than three times its goal.” The third article that turned up on the man Mr. Rittenhouse shot in the arm was “Gaige Grosskreutz only regret in Kenosha protests, not shooting, killing Rittenhouse.” If Kyle Rittenhouse, who is in jail and charged with murder, is a “dangerous individual,” what is Gaige Grosskrutz?
I and American Renaissance have been banned from just about everything you can think of, and I can’t travel to Europe or Britain. But what was done to Kyle Rittenhouse is ten times worse. In our system, all criminal defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a competent legal defense. Future president John Adams defended British soldiers who fired on Americans in the Boston Massacre because they deserved a fair trial. To deny a man ways to raise money to pay his lawyers is far more vicious than denying him a YouTube account. If they had principles, even lefties would be appalled — but they don’t and they aren’t. Aside from Fox Business News, I can find no national media that reported the funding bans, much less condemned them.
What if Mr. Rittenhouse — or a certified “racist” — were dying of a curable disease and needed to pay doctors? Would our rulers make it impossible to raise money? I see little difference in what they are doing to Mr. Rittenhouse, so I suppose they would cheerfully let him die. The Left worries about the “marginalized,” the “othered,” the “dehumanized” — but only when it suits them.
What about Jacob Blake, the black Kenosha man who started all this, who was shot after he fought with the police? On Sept. 4, by video and from his hospital bed, he was bound over for trial on a felony charge of third degree sexual assault, and misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and criminal trespass. When I checked on Sept. 5, his GoFundMe account had raised $2,239,000. The goal is $3,000,000.