If You Were Looking For A Reason To Hate On Invisible Children And The Kony 2012 Campaign, Here It Is

From the get-go there was something about the whole Kony 2012 campaign that didn’t sit right with us. Maybe it was just that it was so slick, so commercial, so intentionally viral without telling you what it was all about. Or maybe it was Invisible Children seemed focused on the crimes of Joseph Kony to the exclusion of the sins committed by the group’s partners in the Uganda government.

We should always trust our instincts: B.E. Wilson of Alternet sifted through annual reports and tax forms filed by Invisible Children and its donors and discovered serious connections to anti-gay groups like the Caster Family Foundation and the Call (both major players in the push for California’s Prop 8).

One of The Call’s major donors in 2008 also gave, that same year, over 400,000 dollars to Invisible Children. These links weren’t anomalies. They were part of a pattern.

What does Invisible Children share in common with James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council (pegged by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group”)…

What does IC have in common with the ministry of California evangelist Ed Silvoso, who works directly with leading Ugandan author and promoter of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (also called the “kill the gays bill”) Julius Oyet—who claims that “even animals are wiser than homosexuals”?

The answer? All of these ministries—the Discovery Institute, Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, The Fellowship Foundation, The Call, Ed Silvoso’s Harvest Evangelism, and Invisible Children—received at least $100,000 in 2008 from what has emerged in the last decade as the biggest funder of the hard, antigay, creationist Christian right: the National Christian Foundation.

Gee, we wonder if Oprah, Lady Gaga and Ellen DeGeneres—all of whom have been targeted by IC’s appeal—are aware of its links to known hate groups. We’re gonna guess not.

So, does this mean we should assume any effort to bring a human-rights violator to justice is part of a anti-gay conspiracy? Of course not. But maybe we should all do a little digging before we start forwarding links or changing our names on Facebook.

Besides, we think Invisible Children works better as the name of a ’90s Brit-pop band than an activist group anyway.

Source: AlterNet via Jezebel

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  • Jay P

    I don’t get it. These groups have simply donated to the KONY campaign? The
    KONY campaign hasn’t come out and said they support them.

    Its like if I held a fundraiser and homophobes decided to contribute to it. Doesn’t
    make me a homophobe if I take their money?

    But yeah the whole ordeal is kinda annoying.. “oh let me make a change by posting a video.” right. Uganda be kidding me.

  • EqualRights

    not surprised, saw them interviewed on CNN and they came across as christian conservatives. The one in the red t-shirt is sooo gay, but talks about his wife. Closet case!

  • scrumfan

    When I watched the video, I became highly suspect when they used Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma in it to promote their cause. This man is one of the must virulent anti-gay law makers in America. Also knowing that Uganda is being used like a missionary colony by US based Far Right Christian Groups….it wasn’t difficult to make the connection. They are promoting “saving children” while also promoting the death penalty for gays at the same time.

  • Austin

    I gotta give this group props for bringing to national attention
    an attrocity that other news orgs covered and the world yawned.
    Ok, they’re a right wing christian group….even right wing christians
    get Some things right and this is one of them.
    I can be friends with conservatives on some values, and oppose them on others.
    That just comes with the territory if you’re gay in Texas.

  • Stark

    I feel that the term “tied to” is being used to intentionally mislead readers. Just because anti-gay groups have donated to IC does not in any way mean they are “tied to” in the traditional sense (i.e. in the sense that say Chick-fil-A is “tied to” anti-gay groups). While I don’t particularly support IC (the habit of spending more money on travel and production than on grants and actual work is usually a red flag when it comes to giving to a charity). Suggesting that IC is tied to Julius Oyet is like suggesting that you are tied to whatever pervert, murderer, thief, homophobe who put a penny in the “give a penny take a penny” tray before you did. Militant Christian groups tend to give to anti-gay charities, they also tend to give to charities aimed at helping children. I don’t usually comment on Queerty’s chosen methods of ‘reporting’ news, but this is a new low in propaganda. You really should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • StevenW

    I don’t understand this sudden interest in the LRA – its a fading organisation. This Kony campaign is all about 5 to 10 years too late.

  • Jack Jett

    I assumed the head dude was a penis sucker for sure.

  • HM

    Senator Jesse Helms was a racist, homophobic bigot. He also was sympathetic to Bono’s efforts to curb AIDS in Africa..

    Does that make Bono guilty by association?

    Perspective: Kony has murdered thousands of people and destroyed a whole generation of African children. The math says more than a few of them were gay. If a homophobe is in the line passing water to put out that sordid, evil fire, we need to deal with it….later.

  • TheMarc

    So if I work for an anti-gay company, I am therefore receiving funds from an antigay company which makes me anti gay??? Not exactly how that works guys. Try again. Just because they’re in receipt of funds from an organization that also funds anti-gay groups; doesn’t make them anti-gay. Their message and their actions do. And so far, I have yet to see an anti-gay sentiment expressed in Invisible Children’s work.

  • Kev C

    What percentage of the donations are going to Joseph Kony and the LRA for trademark, copyrights, acting credits, etc?

  • scrumfan

    @TheMarc: Your logic is like saying Jerry Sandusky was a great coach, so we should ignore all the other allegations.

  • FreddyMertz

    I am not to quick to drink the Kool Aid….I have yet to view the video. I already knew there was atrocities in Uganda/Africa it’s been going on for centuries. I don’t have a answer for the solution…I’m more inclined to try and solve the problems we have here.

  • babcoiu

    Who or what is kony?? and why should we care??

  • Oh, ok.

    Raise your hand if you’re surprised that the KKK-Queer division of the internet decided to find any reason to dump on Africans ASAP.

  • Shax

    Ok, Long known American churches are funding the anti- gay bill in Uganda, promoting and paying some of the pastors and ministers from Uganda. Kony might have been long gone but he should be arrested for people to be at peace, he killed over 2.5 Million people in Arua alone. I might not be surprised of ties between Invisible children, anti- gay bill and the church both at Uganda and wherever. They might not be working hand in hand but they are supporting the anti- gay in one way or another.

  • rory

    @EqualRights: Didn’t think I’d be the only person who had some big closet suspicions about him!

  • Danny

    In conservative areas, gay guys get married to women and then go on “special trips” out of town-state-or-country with their buddies. It is a tale as old as time.

  • Farquart

    As usual, the comments on this board have veered off into absurdity. The point is that this group is using the demonization of Kony to deflect criticism from the Ugandan government and its ties to rightwing anti-gay groups in the USA. Also, it would not be surprising if the funds collected made their way back to these same groups.

  • JayKay

    I already have a reason. Homophobes or not, they support this “responsibility to protect” bullshit. They want the U.S. to keep spending millions, if not billions of dollars gallivanting around the globe playing planetary nanny. We are not Superman. It’s not our job to go deal with everyone else’s war criminals for them, no matter how fucked up they might be, unless they pose a threat to America.

    And yes, most of Africa is a miserable hellhole for anyone gay.

  • Belize

    @UgandaSucks: Logically, I should tell you that you’re wrong; that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge the future of the said children considering the fact that anything can happen within the span of a second. Logically, I should tell you that bombing an entire country, considering the fact that there are still an amount of decent people in it, is a terrible idea. Logically, I should remind you that the said bombing would also affect the LGBTs that remain alive in that area.

    But being human, I can’t help but understand emotionally speaking. It’s a sad thing, I know. But I’m also fucking pissed. Nearly 90 (give or take) percent of this country actually agreed with the killing of LGBTs. And it’s ignorant, moronic and inhumane government actually has the fucking nerve to call for the extradition of Ugandans who practice homosexual acts outside its shit hole of a territory. And the editor of the Rolling Stone (that Ugandan magazine which listed and called for the killing of LGBTs in Uganda) is a demonic prick.

    I feel bad that a big part of me actually nods to your opinion. I wish it wasn’t so. I wish I was a better person than that. But I’m not.

    Is this really what the world makes us?

    I find it depressing.

  • Belize

    @TheMarc: That’s actually the point of the discourse. You’re not suppose to see it if “it” does exist.

  • Belize

    @Stark: If the readers are being mislead, is it the publication’s fault? Nope. Sorry. Any publication is not liable for the mental capacity of its readers. That’s why the Bible still exists.

  • Christopher Banks

    How horribly ironic would it be if this campaign managed to save a child, who then grew up gay, and then was killed because of the Kill The Gays bill? Invisible Children need to be asked explicitly whether their feelings on gay rights align with the virulently anti-gay stance of their donors. Their response will be very telling. If it’s anything other than “no”, then they’re either (a) bigots or (b) cowards, because they don’t want to cut off their largest source of funding and are willing to let GLBT people be victimised and murdered.

  • Belize

    @HM: You mean after they push you into the fire you’re both trying to put out?

  • Quentin

    Doesn’t change the fact that their cause is righteous.
    But I was suspicious when the video failed to tell the full name of Kony’s terrorist group, but instead used an acronym and then claimed that Kony does not have a cause. It was in order to hide the fact that he is a Christian terrorist who claims to be on God’s mission. Bin Laden was an amateur compared to him.

  • Quentin


    Do you want to live in a world where evil wins?

  • HM

    @Belize….. Isn’t that exactly what we’re trying to do to them with this attitude?

  • JTKlaus

    I see this kill *ALL* Africans rhetoric whenever there’s a post about any person, place, thing, or idea in Africa. Why kill *ALL* Africans?? Why bomb entire countries??

  • TheMarc

    @scrumfan: How is that logical at all?? Jerry Sandusky committed crimes and could be argued to be a great coach. His evil and is talent were all on him. He directly committed these evils as well as his coaching triumphs. Period. Invisible Children is a good organization; but has not itself done anything directly anti-gay. Essentially, what’s being discussed is a “guilt by association” argument. Because they receive money from a group that submits donations to anti-gay groups, then well of course, they must be anti gay; which is a crap argument, sorry. If I have the same hairdresser as a billionaire; then I must obviously be a billionaire.

    @Belize: Admittedly, I don’t follow. Are you saying that because we don’t see it then it must exist?

  • TheMarc

    @Farquart: I don’t see how the comments have deflected from that particular point as that was not the point actually expressed in the article. And your point would be an assumed objective, or a conspiracy. No where in there mission, from everything I’ve seen and read of their mission and message, I have seen no willful attempt to detract from the crimes of the Ugandan government.

  • Truthie

    Dig deeper – It’s not just a little funding.

    Look at this Jason Russell. Look at his strange bio on the IC site – the stuff about his plans to have 9 more children. Look at the way he uses his son in the video.

    What is their connection to the conversion therapy world?

    What is their connection to the anti-gay laws in Uganda?

    This is not your ordinary monetary scam – and it’s not your ordinary simple “wag the dog” political manipulation of the public. It’s both of those to be sure – but it has this weird crypto-Christian anti-gay element to it too and people need to look closely at the backgrounds of the founders.

    Keep the heat on them!

  • Dean Lowry

    This article is a pretty weak attack on KONY 2012. In fact, it says nothing whatever about the substance of the video or the work of the charity. They have anti-gay donors and nothing more. They are bringing attention to an awful, terrible person who needs to be brought to justice.

    C’mon, Queerty. This is, in the words of Clarence Thomas, “uncommonly silly.”

  • Mk_ultra_again

    Seeing them on CNN, I just got the overwhelming feeling that they were being disingenuous. I mean like used-car-salesman disingenuous; They were laying it on thick.
    I thought to myself; Where have I seen this sort of superficial grand standing before?
    Now I realize. The place I’ve seen it before is from all these faux Christianist hate groups. They remind me of Joel Osteen with his fake smile and even faker mellow disposition. Or Maggie Gallager, Brian Fisher, or any of that crowd as they try to sell America violent, anti gay bigotry with their best PR face.
    It’s no surprisr to find out IC is involved with some of the associates of these organizations.

  • BubbasBack

    Jason Russell, the guy who did this video, is sooooo gay! Burp.

  • MiguelaShantay

    @BubbasBack: No I don’t think so. He has a kid, and seems pretty straight to me. He does, on the other hand, reek of USC film college graduate ridden with the hipster douche and white man’s guilt.

  • LandStander

    @JTKlaus: Africa is not a country :-)

  • Kaio

    I saw their website daaays ago and thought it was pretty fishy for some reason. i don’t know, something didn’t feel right.

  • Kev C

    @Kaio: I feel that way about most charity fundraising groups, including Lady Gaga’s. But that’s the state of charity groups today: greasy, fly-by-night pseudo-activists looking for a hand out. Most charity groups in Africa have some religious connection or heritage, including the trusted ones. And most religious groups are anti-gay. That’s to be expected.

  • Wesley Horace

    As much as I don’t like Invisible Children, I don’t think just because they have the same donor as other less favorable charities is a reason to not support them. I think the fact that less than a third of the money donated goes to the actual cause and that modern Ugandan’s themselves say this is unnecessary are reasons enough. I hated the manufactured “virality” of this video.

  • Christopher

    @LandStander: In his defense, he said that bombing Africa would be “bombing entire countries” , plural. Africa does indeed contain multiple countries.

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    @Oh, ok.: A bit harsh, don’t you think? Well obviously not as you wrote what you wrote. I go after racists with a vengeance, they are dimwitted bigots. Here, though, with the outrageous politically-backed anti-gay Ugandan policies — often leading to out right torture, rape, and murder of gays and lesbians — examining the use of funds by these rabid NGOs and church-related groups is important.

    I NEVER give to the Salvation Army anymore. Like most, I used to toss in $10-20 over the course of the holidays into the SA Christmas buckets. Then I learned that the SA turned around and made large donations to the Prop. 8 backers, in a very real way, taking money for good Samaritan gays and lesbians, only to have MY/OUR money used against ME/US.

    This case is not parallel; nonetheless though, it is more than fair to question the legitimacy of actions made by illegitimate organizations. This does not mean I am anti-Africa — I am anti-genecide of fellow humans based on their sexuality.

  • Neil

    @Jay P: I wouldn’t be suspicious of a donation from some hate group if it was $250 or even $5,000… that would be ‘just a donation’.

    But groups like these christian anti-gay outfits are *very* well-funded, highly connected to the very top of US politics, and run mostly by people who are ex-senators or ex-staffers straight from the capitol. They don’t throw half a million dollars around without having very specific expectations in terms of what they get in return.

    These groups are the guys who tried to get a law passed in Uganda to make homosexuality punishable by death. Invisible Children operates in Uganda too, and I just can’t accept that the agenda of these gay-hating groups (making homosexuality a crime punishable by death) isn’t being promoted directly by IC in return for such huge sums. It’s not just the dollar amounts, either, because that $400k is a very large proportion of IC’s annual revenue ($10 to $13 million each year). IC can hardly be unaware of such a large donor’s goals and objectives in that same region.

    The whole thing just stinks, IMO. That KOny 2012 video is an abject lesson in propoganda, manipulating our natural ‘oh the children’ instincts to gather money that will ultimately be used to equip and arm the government soldiers who are ostensibly hunting down Kony. Are these tools and weapons going to be given back when Kony is caught or killed? Of course not, and those government soldiers are known to have committed many horrendous acts of murder and brutality against a defenceless population. And it’s the teenage idiots buying Kony Packs for $30 that are funding those soldiers in their violence against their own people.

    So far, I’ve heard *nothing* from people who live in Uganda, or are Ugandan, except ‘don’t donate, Kony isn’t even relevant in Uganda any more’. The only people defending IC seem to be those who have been swept up in the propaganda and can’t refuse anything with ‘children’ in the title.

  • Ian

    So far, only Neil and Farqari have actually hit the nail on the head. The rest of hese comments are riven with straw man arguments and ad hominen attacks. The amount of money given to IC is not at all insignificant, both in amount and in total revenue. Moreover, the connection to known Ugandan leaders who are spearheading the “Kill the Gays” bill can’t be ignored. The purpose of this piece is not to be the final say, but to start a dialogue. We need to be discerning citizens and start demanding answers from IC – who so far have been reticent to discuss who they are, who’s running them, and why the sudden push for Kony now – before we start blithely supporting them. Why do they have support from these groups? What other ties does IC have to them? Do they support a “kill the gays”bill bill? Would they be willing to take a stand to support and defend queer children in Uganda? So far, everything IC has done has been to the effect of, “Don’t ask questioned, don’t stop and think, just give us money and stop Kony.” And if you don’t follow the program, you get accused of supporting child murder. Just remember fellow queers, it wasn’t too long ago that the the “think of the children, protect them” argument was used against us here in the US

  • JJ

    I certainly have no intention of ever siding with any of those groups, hell I haven’t had a single delicious morsel of chick-fil-a in over two years because of who they donate their money to. A couple of groups that are donating to KONY 2012 happen to be the very groups chick-fil-a donate to. I will admit I am still not sure how legit the whole KONY 2012 thing is? With that being said, can we not unite to fight a common threat regardless of what side of the political spectrum we might fall under? To me if gay groups and anti gay groups both contribute to help a cause then just maybe there is hope for humanity after all?

  • Observer

    Is it propaganda? Sure, and it’s excellent propaganda.

    But you don’t need to send money to Invisible Children to be part of this “get Kony” campaign, and the campaign is doing a remarkable thing. How many times had YOU watched the head of the International Criminal Court talking about the number one ICC war criminal, until Kony 2012 came along?

    Not every do-gooder organization is a right-wing front. If this one is, it will find out that it’s not a good idea to link up with celebrities who have every ability and reason to strike back if they find their good will was co-opted.

    But why not start from the point of view that someone who has spent a decade trying to bring an evil bastard to justice might just be OK, even if he’s not following your party line in every way? Not every attempt to do good has to inspire its own gotcha crowd. It doesn’t even need to inspire speculation as to anyone’s sexuality.

  • Al

    This piece is a stretch, and very Republican, if you ask me. Queerty should know better.

  • Steve-o

    Say what you want about invisible children. At least they are more effective then some ultra left wing hippy pounding the street, clipboard in hand, annoying people into giving to there cause until its time to pay their rent and they move on. Charities aiming to fight injustice need to function more like multinationals if they want any form of power to influence real change and be sustainable. I guess some people are only happy if their staff work for free and give 100% to the cause.

  • Shannon1981

    Just another reason in an already long line to never donate to any racket run by a church. If you’re gay, you’ll probably be donating to promote the execution of people like yourself.

  • Truthie

    Jason Russell seems straight to you??

    I am het but every gaydar alert in my body says otherwise. My gf was paying no attention to any of this but heard the audio from the terrible Russell speech I was watching and spontaneously blurted: “That guy sounds SOOO gay…”. I’d like to see a longer poll of gay men….

    But whatever Russell and friends are into personally – their politics and this IC scam are sleazy as hell…

  • alejo

    @Truthie: The time I saw him I knew he was anything but straight.

  • takakupo

    Avery, your logic is severely flawed and makes me wanna think twice about coming here for more of your opinion. Was it a slow week for gay news or something or did you just decide that you wanted as many blog views as possible? It’s so ridiculous to say (especially in that longwinded and ultra wordy, say-nothing excerpt) that because an anti-gay group donates to a cause that the cause is now anti-gay but you vehemently come out against the Invisible Children as anti-gay by association and in this case (As with many others) that just does NOT work. Control yourself Dan, I mean seriously.

  • LandStander

    @Christopher: Ok, I can see that. I thought we were having a Sarah Palin moment here :P

Comments are closed.