One of the more surreal aspects of the recent leak of celebrities’ intimate photos was Reddit’s donation drive, raising money for a cancer research charity “in honor of Jennifer Lawrence,” one of the many women targeted in the attack.
Now the charity has responded—and it doesn’t want any of those guilty redditors’ money.
In the aftermath of the release of the photos, a community called r/TheFappening has sprung up on Reddit, taking advantage of the site’s extreme pro-free-speech stance to share links to the material and discuss the leaks. A post by one community member, FappingHero, sparked a wave of donations to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. In less than 24 hours, users raised more than $6,000. Some donors gave as much as $100 apiece.
At one point, the community was collectively the top donor listed on the charity’s website.
However, the Prostate Cancer Foundation isn’t keen to be associated with the unauthorized distribution of hundreds of stolen photos of women—some of which constitute child pornography. In a statement to the Daily Dot, a spokesperson for the charity confirmed that it would be returning all the donations given via r/TheFappening’s “personal page.”
“A post appeared on Reddit late Monday afternoon, September 1, 2014,” the statement reads. “A Reddit user directed other Reddit users to make a donation without the Foundation’s knowledge. We would never condone raising funds for cancer research in this matter.”
“Out of respect for everyone involved and in keeping with our standards,” it continues, “we will be returning all the donations that resulted from this post.”
Even in the original thread on Reddit, some questioned whether good intentions were really the reason for this unusual act of philanthropy, or if “this whole thing is just here to make [subscribers to r/TheFappening] feel good about themselves.”
The Prostate Cancer Foundation’s rejection now makes clear what this drive really was: a piece of self-congratulatory masturbation from a community that’s too well-versed in that art.
Or as one redditor put it,
Reddit responds to having its sticky money rejected by the Prostate Cancer Foundation: pic.twitter.com/tmvI1QUPJV
— Neetzan Zimmerman (@neetzan) September 2, 2014