Yesterday I, like many of you probably did, woke up to find my Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook feeds filled with the word “Kony.” The hashtags “#kony” “#kony2012″ and “#stopkony” were suddenly EVERYWHERE. “What the hell is this all about?”, I wondered. As I went through my various feeds I found myself implored to stop whatever I was doing to watch a 30-minute video about a Ugandan warlord that had gone viral — like 26 million views in just a couple of days viral. My next thought was “how the hell do all these people have time to watch a 30-minute video on a Ugandan warlord during the day?” I mean, I work on the internet, and I certainly don’t have time to watch a video that long. (Trim that sh*t down to five minutes, yo.)
Anyway, the video on Joseph Kony, looter, raper, user of child soldiers (typical African warlord stuff), went viral and many of the goodhearted people on the internet, as they are wont to do, blindly latched on to the cause and started drumming up support for Invisible Children, the group behind the video.
But the problem with Invisible Children is that it consists entirely of three dudebro filmmakers whose financials are all kinds of shady (Why does a non-profit need a bank account in the Cayman Islands?) — it’s not a stretch to, upon closer inspection, form the opinion that the three are pompous twats using the charity to fund a lavish, globetrotting lifestyle.
I think Johnny Internets over at the Daily What summed it all up rather well…
The organization behind Kony 2012 — Invisible Children Inc. — is an extremely shady nonprofit that has been called ”misleading,” “naive,” and “dangerous” by a Yale political science professor, and has been accused by Foreign Affairs of “manipulat[ing] facts for strategic purposes.” They have also been criticized by the Better Business Bureau for refusing to provide information necessary to determine if IC meets the Bureau’s standards.
Additionally, IC has a low two-star rating in accountability from Charity Navigator because they won’t let their financials be independently audited. That’s not a good thing. In fact, it’s a very bad thing, and should make you immediately pause and reflect on where the money you’re sending them is going.
By IC’s own admission, only 31% of all the funds they receive go toward actually helping anyone [pdf]. The rest go to line the pockets of the three people in charge of the organization, to pay for their travel expenses (over $1 million in the last year alone) and to fund their filmmaking business (also over a million)
Oh, BTW, here’s the aforementioned 30-minute video that’s burning up the internet (I still haven’t watched the whole thing as I can barely even stomach the avalanche of smugness in the video’s first couple of minutes)…