UPDATE (2:30 p.m.) — GoFundMe has released a statement to CBS 42 regarding Hutchinson’s page, which they claim is still active:
“The campaign is active and Mr. Hutchinson is permitted to withdraw the funds. The funds are being held by our payment processor until Mr. Hutchinson’s banking information is added to the campaign,” said Madeline Purdue, a communications associate at GoFundMe.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – A GoFundMe that had been set up to help with the legal fees of a Tuscaloosa man who destroyed a caricature of President Donald Trump over the weekend has apparently been flagged.
In a message posted on the GoFundMe page “Restitutions [sic] for Baby Trump Stabber” Monday, organizers released the following statement:
“We have been reported by the sympathizers. Apparently we didn’t read the fine print. Gofundme is not going to allow these generous donations to help Hoyt. They will soon likely refund all your support. Apologize for the inconvenience folks. Thanks for the kind words, prayer, and financial support. Reach out to Hoyt on Facebook we love hearing from fellow patriots #Trump2020.”
As of Monday afternoon, the GoFundMe had reached nearly $40,000.
Hutchinson, 32, was arrested Saturday afternoon after he was observed by officer cutting into a 20-foot inflatable image of Trump called “Baby Trump,” depicting the president as a baby. An online campaign had raised over $6,000 to bring the inflatable to Tuscaloosa for Trump’s arrival in town for the Alabama-LSU game.
According to Hutchinson’s GoFundMe page, all money raised that would not be needed for legal fees would be donated to Trump’s re-election campaign.
GoFundMe campaigns to raise money for legal costs is a tricky subject. In 2015, the site announced it would no longer support legal defense funds on its platform, stating it “will not allow campaigns that benefit individuals or groups facing formal charges or claims of serious violations of the law.” However, the site has allowed for other types of legal defense fundraising in different capacities since then, such as the Time’s Up legal fund.
Currently, GoFundMe has a clause that does not allow any campaign it deems to be “for the legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender or gender identity, serious disabilities or diseases, or financial crimes or crimes of deception,” according to its terms of service.
Hutchinson is currently charged with first-degree criminal mischief, which is a Class C felony.
“I got charged, but that’s alright,” Hutchinson said in a video published on his Facebook page after he was released from jail Saturday. “I’d do it again if given the opportunity.”
Organizers of the GoFundMe page have listed another form of contribution on the page.