Anti-Abortion Filmmakers Strike Back at Kickstarter Over Censorship

"When faced with a different point of view, their first instinct was to censor."

A new billboard is greeting employees of the crowd funding website Kickstarter as they make their morning commute - and it's doubtful they appreciate the sentiment.

The sign, which reads "Kicked out by Kickstarter," is the work of filmmakers Phelim McAleer, his wife Ann McElhinney and Magda Segieda, who have been in a months-long battle with the website since it attempted to censor the funding campaign for their upcoming TV movie based on America's biggest serial killer and abortionist, Dr. Kermit Gosnell. 

Since jumping ship at Kickstarter and joining rival crowdfunding site IndieGoGo, the filmmakers now have the pleasure of saying that they are responsible for the largest crowdfunding campaign in that website's history.

According to the NY Post

It’s the most successful film project on Indiegogo yet, McAleer said, and even overtook Spike Lee’s Kickstarter-funded film, which raised $1.4 million.

While the filmmakers have not made it all the way to their ambitious $2.1MM goal, they aren't afraid to show Kickstarter what a bad decision they made.  The billboard continues:

Kicked out by Kickstarter. Gosnell movie raises $1 million…and counting! To the public — we say 'Thank you!' To Kickstarter — we say…'You stink at censorship!'

In an interview with TruthRevolt, McAleer shared his motive behind the billboard:

Kickstarter tried to censor us - it didn't work. When faced with a different point of view, their first instinct was to censor. They claim to like diversity, but don't like diversity of opinion. This is Kickstarter refusing to bake us a cake -- which as a private company they are perfectly entitled to do -- but they need to be honest and announce that certain opinions and ideas are not welcome on Kickstarter. It's sad, but that's the truth. People need to be aware that Kickstarter is not welcoming to all shades of opinion and can close down a project if it offends their "community values" -- in other words, if it offends the political beliefs of their owners.

We wanted to post the billboard to draw attention to Kickstarter's censorship -- to draw attention to how they don't want diversity of opinion on the crowdfunding platform.

McAleer is no stranger to Kickstarter as he used the site to help raise $212,000 for his previous film, a documentary entitled "FrackNation." But it wasn't until the subject matter changed to abortion that eyebrows were raised at Kickstarter. McAleer told TR, "They don't want any project that would shine an uncomfortable light on abortion."

It does seem that Kickstarter is not as interested in anti-abortion movies as, say, movies about rape. McAleer uncovered 44 projects about rape that were allowed to be hosted on Kickstarter, as well as five projects on incest, and almost 30 projects with the f-word in the titles. McAleer said, "Yancey Strickler, the CEO and founder of Kickstarter, recently told the CBS This Morning program that they are a very diverse company. But the reality is that the first time that they actually encounter a different opinion or a different way of looking at the world, their first instinct is to censor." He added, "They need to stop pretending they welcome diversity of opinion."

It was only after McAleer sent in a critical letter to Kickstarter that they relented and chose to "accept" his company's project. McAleer called it a "non-acceptance acceptance" that included a post-script caveat that said they could decide at any time to "remove projects altogether" if they find something "objectionable."

And that was too much of a risk for McAleer. In order for this type of crowdfunding to work, they must remain on the list to be funded and reach their full goal of $2.1 million. If they don't, they won't receive any of the money committed and the movie cannot be made. And for that reason, Hat Tip Films decided to partner with IndieGoGo. So far, almost $1.7 million has been raised by nearly 17,000 funders. Contributors have until May 12 to help them reach their goal.

If the goal is reached, the movie will tell the story of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who is currently serving several life sentences for what took place in his Philadelphia abortion clinic. During his trial, Gosnell was convicted of a host of horrors including forced abortions, as well as severing the spines of viable newborns and keeping the dead babies in jars and containers throughout his clinic. It is estimated that he killed thousands of babies over the course of 30 years while practicing. It is that information that Kickstarter wanted removed before posting the project to their site.

Amazingly, the media largely ignored the Gosnell trial, and that is why McAleer wants to make sure that everyone hears this horrific story. McAleer said that his goal for the film is to get "the life and crimes of Kermit Gosnell on TV and into every home in America."