Celebrities are coming under fire for donating to a bail fund aimed at springing protesters even as police struggle to stop the escalating violence in Minneapolis and other U.S. cities.
Steve Carell, Janelle Monae, Seth Rogen, Ben Schwartz and Halsey were among those donating to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which is raising money to bail out protesters flooding the streets over George Floyd, a black man who died Monday while in police custody.
Those contributions were called into question on social media by those asking why celebrities would want to support the mobs throwing rocks, breaking windows, looting stores, and setting fire to businesses and other buildings.
“#Minneapolis police precinct set on fire…While #Hollywood stars like @Sethrogen, @SteveCarell and @rejectedjokes make donations to bail out ‘peaceful protesters,’” tweeted conservative talk-radio host Buck Sexton.
The Federalist’s David Harsanyi asked Mr. Rogen to donate instead to black Minneapolis residents like Stephanie Wilford, who gave an interview sobbing over the destruction, or Korboi Balla, a former firefighter who saw rioters destroy the bar he had bought with his life savings.
“Rich white dude bailing out thugs who are burning down black neighborhoods,” tweeted Mr. Harsanyi.
Tweeted another commenter: “You gonna donate to the small businesses that had their whole livelihoods destroyed by these ‘protestors’ that burned their building to the ground or looted all their stuff?”
Others pointed out that some Democrats are blaming the rioting on white supremacists, meaning that those being bailed out may be Nazis and fascists.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund, which has called for defunding police departments and eliminating cash bail, said that “Black freedom fighters are rising up, lives on the line everywhere” and thanked “everyone who has provided support at this time.”
The Minneapolis Police Department reported Saturday that 383 reports of burglary and property damage were made during Friday night’s rioting, and that 131 calls were made about gunshots being fired. There were also 23 reported structure fires during the Friday protests.
About 40 people were arrested in Friday’s melee, according to Minneapolis and St. Paul authorities.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Saturday that tens of thousands of protesters have overwhelmed the law-enforcement presence, and estimated that 80% of those are not local but arrived from out of state.