Following last month’s news that a Kermit Gosnell TV movie was rejected just a few weeks later Kickstarter, the crowdfunding website, temporarily blocked another pro-life film from being featured for public support.
The second incident involves a film project entitled Stolen Moments. Dallas filmmaker Jason Vaughn wants his film to show the dramatic effects of abortion on the lives of individuals by displaying the small moments in people’s lives that are prevent in the wake of a terminated pregnancy.
While the specific reason cited by Kickstarter differs from the Gosnell project parallels between the two cancellations exist. Vaughn was first notified his project would be blocked when Kickstarter sent him a notice citing a violation of the company’s guidelines. It was explained that they defined the movie as offering “self help,” which violated policy.
As Vaughn appealed through the website he asked for clarification on this decision and he received a second notice expanding on the ruling:
The project you submitted does not meet our Project Guidelines, and it can no longer be submitted to Kickstarter. We consider providing “resources and choices for those in crisis pregnancies” self help, safety and health advice which fall outside our scope unfortunately.
This presented some conflicting conclusions. The language the site referred to was a portion of Vaughn’s initial submission (a passage he had later removed) where he mentioned his film could be used as an aid for women contemplating their pregnancy.
However, as he explains, the movie itself offers no such health advice. Further he points out that Kickstarter has a number of other film projects which seem to dispense direct health advice such as those centered on healthy diets, or details about GMOs.
This selective interpretation of Project Guidelines also was applied to Gosnell, the dramatic film project started by filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney. In that instance the company took exception to the graphic descriptions McAleer used in referencing the titular doctor’s practice of late-term abortions. At the same time Kickstarter seems less squeamish about a number of horror film projects that have descriptive language at least on par with the objectionable language of the Gosnell film.
Additionally-and possibly more revealing-the standards applied to these two films do not appear to be a problem for the pro-abortion film projects that employ Kickstarter. One notable case was the movie After Tiller, which initially funded on the site while featuring the case of the late-term abortion doctor who was murdered, as well as the doctors who took over the practice.
The graphic nature of this film could be comparable, and this title as well as the active films promoting abortion could be classified as dispensing health advice just as equally. Both of these blocked projects have moved over to another crowdfunding site, Indiegogo.
When McAleer went public with his episode with Kickstarter the company CEO, Yancy Strickler, came forward and later declared that the Gosnell movie project could, in fact, be placed on his site. In another revealing bit of symmetry Vaughn received an email from Strickler wherein the CEO acknowledges they were in error for blocking his project.
“We made a mistake. Your project is not in violation of our rules, and we would welcome it on the site.”
In both of these cases Strickler made this correction after the fact; Both Gosnell and Stolen Moments had been established at Indiegogo when he made his renewed invitations to the projects.
Vaughn says he didn’t enter the campaign with an ax to grind. Far from it.
“I love Kickstarter. I’ve backed over two dozen campaigns in the last couple of years. They pioneered crowdfunding,” Vaughn says. “There are two great campaigns I’m promoting right now for some great friends.”
“For the life of me I can’t figure out how anyone could consider our project self help. Like the Gosnell Movie creators we’re just really happy there are great alternatives to Kickstarter out there.”