GoFundMe Bans $180,000 Fundraiser for Nurse Seeking to Overturn Vaccine Mandate, Citing ‘Misinformation’

GoFundMe CEO Tim Cadogan
Eirik Solheim/Flickr

GoFundMe has taken down a $180,000 fundraiser for a Texas nurse seeking to overturn a coronavirus vaccine mandate, claiming it violated their policy against vaccine “misinformation.”

Nurse Jennifer Bridges started the GoFundMe campaign in April, seeking to raise funds for an anti-mandate lawsuit after she was fired from Houston Methodist hospital following her refusal to get vaccinated against the Chinese coronavirus, according to a report by Business Insider.

A Moroccan health worker prepares of the Pfizer-BioNTech at a Covid-19 vaccination centre, in the city of Sale, on October 5, 2021. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP) (Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)

A Moroccan health worker prepares of the Pfizer-BioNTech at a Covid-19 vaccination centre, in the city of Sale, on October 5, 2021. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP) (Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)

HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 18: Emergency Room nurses and EMTs tend to patients in hallways at the Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital on August 18, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Across Houston, hospitals have been forced to treat hundreds of patients in hallways and corridors as their emergency rooms are being overwhelmed due to the sharp increase in Delta variant cases. Hospitals are straining to keep up with the surge of new coronavirus patients as schools and businesses continue to reopen. Houston has seen an upward increase in Delta infections, and research is showing the Delta variant to be 60% more contagious than its predecessor the Alpha variant, also known as COVID-19. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

HOUSTON, TEXAS – AUGUST 18: Emergency Room nurses and EMTs tend to patients in hallways at the Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital on August 18, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The fundraiser — which received an anonymous donation of $50,000 — reportedly helped fund Bridges’ lawsuit against the hospital’s mandate in May. The suit was dismissed in June, but Bridges’ attorneys have appealed the decision.

GoFundMe told Business Insider that upon further review, the fundraiser violated the platform’s policy against “misinformation.”

“When our team initially reviewed the fundraiser, it was within our terms of service as the funds were for legal fees to fight vaccine mandates,” GoFundMe spokesperson Heidi Hagberg said. “The fundraiser has since been updated to include misinformation which violates our terms of service.”

The report adds that the subsequent review of Bridges’ GoFundMe campaign was conducted after Business Insider itself suggested the fundraiser didn’t just challenge the vaccine mandate, but also “the safety of the vaccines themselves.”

Business Insider said the former nurse’s campaign had originally opposed the mandate due to concerns that the vaccine was not “fully FDA approved,” and claimed that Bridges remained “defiant” after the FDA granted the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine full approval in August.

A September update to Bridges’ fundraiser stated, “No one should ever be forced to inject something into their body that is not safe against their will,” the report adds.

In an email to Business Insider, the former nurse disputed the claim that she had been spreading “misinformation,” and said she would be launching a new fundraiser elsewhere.

Hagberg told the outlet that because the fundraiser was “within our terms at the time of withdrawal,” Bridges will be able to keep the money. GoFundMe also said it has taken down “hundreds” of similar fundraisers that promoted so-called “misinformation related to vaccines.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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