Emails Contradict Kickstarter CEO's Claim Gosnell Movie Wasn't Rejected
The CEO of Kickstarter.com is denying that his crowdfunding site censored a campaign for a new documentary on abortionist Kermit Gosnell.
The filmmakers behind the project say they have the emails proving Kickstarter wouldn't go forward unless certain disturbing language about Gosnell's crimes was removed from their marketing pitch. Yet a quick glance around existing Kickstarter projects shows campaigns with imagery that hardly appears suitable for general consumption.
Kickstarter CEO Yancy Strickler defended his site against censorship charges regarding the Gosnell project today via Twitter.
McAleer sent Breitbart News emails detailing how the company did not want to run the campaign as originally composed due to the description of Gosnell's crimes, particularly the phrase, "1000s of babies stabbed to death."
Thu, Mar 27 2014 3:17 PM PDT
Hi Ann and Phelim --
Sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you. We have reviewed your project, and before we approve it there are ... concerns we want to address:
… we ask that the phrase “1000s of babies stabbed to death” and similar language be modified or removed from the project. We understand your convictions and the horror of this person’s crimes, however we are a broad website used by millions of people. Our Community Guidelines outline that we encourage and enforce a culture of respect and consideration, and we ask that that language specifically be modified for those reasons.
Thanks for your patience and understanding. Once you’ve made these adjustments give us a head’s up, and we can proceed. If you have further questions let us know.
All the best.
Thu, Mar 27 2014 5:00 PM PDT
Thanks for the quick reply. Script looks good, but phrases like "1000s of babies stabbed to death" and "1000s of babies murdered" will need to be removed or modified to comply with the spirit of our Community Guidelines.
Let me know when you've made the changes do this and we can proceed.
Once McAleer's team withdrew their campaign and media outlets began contacting Kickstarter, the company sent a belated acceptance offer but with "censorious conditions attached," according to McAleer.
The following language is from Kickstarter's acceptance missive:
When we find things that are objectionable, whether they were missed during review (we're sorry, but it happens!) or they were added after the fact, we remove projects from our site's browse functionality until they're fixed. In extreme cases, we remove the project altogether.
McAleer, who called that language an "intolerable threat to the project," recalls Strickler telling CBS Morning News recently that Kickstarter exists to offer diverse ideas. The filmmaker says that hardly appears the case.
"They don't like any ideas that might bring diversity of thought to the abortion issue. They hide behind 'community guidelines,'" he says.
While those "guidelines" meant the film's campaign couldn't print material from court transcripts or quote from the grand jury report describing Gosnell's crimes, they didn't appear to stop the use of questionable imagery from other Kickstarter campaigns.
Co-director Ann McElhinney said it's ironic that a film that deals, in part, with media censorship should face similar sanctions.
"We withdrew [from Kickstarter] because we wanted to tell the truth about the crimes of Kermit Gosnell. The media failed to cover his trial--the trail of the biggest serial killer in American history," she says. "This was censorship. It's partly what inspired us to make this movie."
Co-Producer Magdalena Segieda grew up in Communist Poland, a country where freedom of speech wasn't permitted.
"I take these issues very seriously. That's why I love America and the freedoms it allows. That's why I love crowdsourcing because it sweeps away the 'gatekeepers' and allows artists and film makers to create without censorship. It is sad that Kickstarter has now joined the censors blocking facts that they don't want people to see."