GoFundMe Removes $180K Fundraiser for Suit Opposing Vaccine Mandate, Claims 'Misinformation'

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Posted: Oct 09, 2021 4:45 PM
GoFundMe Removes $180K Fundraiser for Suit Opposing Vaccine Mandate, Claims 'Misinformation'

Source: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

GoFundMe has taken down a fundraising campaign, which had raised more than $180,000, started in April by a Texas nurse who looked to take legal action to overturn a COVID-19 vaccine mandate because it allegedly violated the company's "misinformation" policy. 

Jennifer Bridges, a former registered nurse at Houston Methodist hospital who was fired after refusing to adhere to the hospital's vaccine requirement, filed a lawsuit against the company's mandate in May. 

Lawyers for Bridges argued in the complaint that she and several other employees who signed on to the legal challenge were being forced by the hospital to take an "experimental" vaccine.

And while that lawsuit was dismissed in June, Bridges' attorneys appealed the decision.

GoFundMe said that they did not elect to remove Bridges' fundraiser until they updated their terms of services.

"When our team initially reviewed the fundraiser, it was within our terms of service as the funds were for legal fees to fight vaccine mandates," Heidi Hagberg, a spokesperson for GoFundMe, said in a statement to Business Insider. "The fundraiser has since been updated to include misinformation which violates our terms of service."

The campaign page, which was removed Friday, included assertions that contested both mandates and the safety of the COVID vaccines.

But Bridges was allowed to keep the money that had already been raised because the fundraiser was "within our terms at the time of withdrawal," according to Hagberg.

Bridges' campaign initially expressed concerns about the vaccine mandate because it had not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. At that time, all three COVID vaccines were under emergency approval.

However, after the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine in August, she updated the GoFundMe page to say that, "No one should ever be forced to inject something into their body that is not safe against their will."

GoFundMe claimed to have taken down "hundreds" of fundraisers that included statements of "misinformation related to vaccines."