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Kickstarter Funded ‘After Tiller’ Abortionist Documentary, Rejected Gosnell Movie

Filmmakers react to Kickstarter’s bias.

Talk about blatant bias. Although crowdfunded site Kickstarter refused the makers of the new Gosnell movie permission to fundraise, the same company hosted the recent “After Tiller” late-term abortionist documentary.

Filmmaker Phelim McAleer along with wife Ann McElhinney and Magdalena Segieda aimed to raise $2.1 million in 45 days via Kickstarter for their Gosnell project, a scripted drama on based on abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s trial and the grand jury report. When Kickstarter complained about the project’s description of Gosnell, the team turned instead to site Indiegogo. Kickstarter also made news for hosting the controversial “After Tiller” abortionist documentary. The McAleer team reacted to the irony, telling MRC, “It’s clear Kickstarter is a site for narrow ideas where no diversity of opinion is tolerated." 

After Tiller,” a Sundance-praised film in theaters last fall, followed the last four third-trimester abortionists in the U.S. The "After Tiller” Kickstarter campaign described how the documentary delved into, “the lives of these physicians, who have become the new number-one targets of the pro-life movement, yet continue to risk their lives every day.”

According to McAleer’s team, Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickley recently stressed to CBS how his company is “a site for very diverse ideas.” The filmmakers described Kickstarter’s “Community Guidelines” that terminated their Kickstarter account as “just shorthand for opinions and facts they don’t like and won't tolerate.”

Right before the project was set to launch, Kickstarter wrote to McAleer and demanded that “the phrase ‘1000s of babies stabbed to death’ and similar language be modified or removed from the project.” The site reasoned that, “Our Community Guidelines outline that we encourage and enforce a culture of respect and consideration.” 

But McAleer called out Kickstarter’s hypocrisy later, by citing the site’s 16 projects about stabbing, 5 projects about incest, 44 projects about rape and 28 projects with F**k or F**king in the title (as well as one project with C*** in the project description). 

In a statement to MRC, the filmmakers accused Kickstarter of censorship, and explained how Kickstarter has, “allowed a range of projects on their site that might offend millions of people but the only one they wanted to change was about the factual description of the activities of an abortion doctor.” They concluded that Kickstarter representatives, “fear that the Gosnell movie will shine a factual, but unwelcome, spotlight on the realities of abortion.” 

Fox’s Kirsten Powers came to the same conclusion for Kickstarter, though she may be a lone media voice on Gosnell. Gosnell’s trial, in which witnesses described baby abortion survivors “swimming” in toilets, attracted merely 12 – 15 reporters. The three broadcast networks reported on Gosnell – but only after multiple letters from members of the House of Representatives on top of a public outcry by conservatives.

Even as the infamous trial reaches its first year anniversary, the Gosnell censorship is far from ending.

— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.