Issa Rae, star of the upcoming HBO series “Insecure,” has raised more than $500,000 in scholarship money for the five children of slain Baton Rouge, Louisiana Black man Alton Sterling. Many have bashed the actress online, claiming the fundraiser is going to the wrong cause because of the father’s reported lengthy criminal history. Others unfamiliar with Rae have also questioned her intentions.
Dave O’Connell alluded to Sterling’s status as a registered sex offender for impregnating a 14-year-old girl at age 20, as court documents and Louisiana state records show.
@IssaRae How about a GoFundMe for the now teenaged girl of the 14-yo girl Alton raped/impregnated? Alton owes $25,000 in back support.
— Dave O'Connell (@winthedaynikki) July 8, 2016
The same history was brought up on the GoFundMe page.
Tim Altrock also alleged Sterling owes more than $25,000 in child support.
Christiian DeLorca claimed the fundraiser gives Sterling – and others whom he calls criminals – the ability to “still profit even after they are killed for resisting arrest.” The 37-year-old was shot and killed by police July 5 for selling CDs outside a convenience store – something he had permission from the store owner to do. Atlanta Black Star reports an unnamed man called authorities to report a man taunting customers outside Triple S Food Mart with a gun. However, the owner Abdullah Muflahti, said he did not see anyone waving a gun – especially not Sterling.
Still, supporters have stepped in to defend Rae and Sterling.
Ayana Webb pointed out the victim’s criminal history has “nothing to do with the fact that these kids now need a gateway to a successful future.” She urged those who “want to raise hell” to do so for supporters of Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who shot and killed nine people at a historically Black South Carolina church last year.
Casey Snow advised others not to “put hate on the children who are innocent in all of this.”
Philana Woods echoed those statements.
For those who are unfamiliar with Rae and question the campaign, Liz Elsen pointed out the actress’ accomplishments, stating she doesn’t need the money.
Despite the backlash, Rae and more than 19,000 others have raised $580,000 for Sterling’s family. The funds were raised within one day.
The actress shared an update Thursday evening, mentioning the day’s shooting and killing of another Black man, Philando Castile. The 32-year-old school cafeteria manager was killed by a cop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota after informing the officer he had a concealed weapon and he was reaching into his pocket to get his wallet. Rae linked to a GoFundMe raising funds for Castile’s family.
She also posted an update on the Sterling children’s fundraiser.
“I have left word for the Edmond, the family attorney and have been consulting with my legal advisors to ensure that ALL of the money will get to the family (hopefully tax-free),” she wrote. “We’re working on the most efficient plan and I thank all of you who have reached out to help and offer your services/connections. I will continue to keep you posted.”
ABS reached out to the Sterling family’s attorneys to get their thoughts on the campaign, but received no response.