ALLOUT petition misrepresents purpose and exploits Ugandan Kill the Gays

There is absolutely zero proof of a connection between the ALLOUT Petition and the fact that the Uganda Bill did not pass Parliament this month.

By Melanie Nathan, December 14, 2012

IScreen Shot 2012-12-14 at 10.41.20 AMn a letter to supporters,  the online Petition group ALLOUT appears to be claiming a solo victory (implied or overt) for the fact that Uganda’s Parliament was unable to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in accordance with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga’s  promise of passage in time for Xmas, and are using their claims to raise funds for their group.

This claim by ALL OUT, run by Americans,  is completely without foundation.   What makes the claim unconscionable is not only the fact that ALL OUT is using the assertion to raise funds for itself, but also because ALL OUT is fully aware that its Petition is flawed and misrepresents that President Museveni has the power to VETO the Ugandan Parliament’s private member Bill. The fact is the President of Uganda has no such veto power.

There is absolutely zero proof of a connection between the ALLOUT  Petition and the fact that the Uganda Bill did not pass Parliament this month.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is still a huge threat and the ALLOUT Petition, is using that to raise more funds, under the guise of its allegation that it procured the Parliamentary delay.

The fact is ALL OUT and its petition had absolutely no impact whatsoever or any control over the events that transpired this month to delay the Bill’s passage.  ALLOUT  did nothing to impact the fact that the Bill slipped down on the Ugandan Order Paper Agenda.
What is wrong with ALL OUT’s Petition:

1. ALLOUT”s Petition calls upon the Ugandan President Museveni to veto the Anti-Homosexuality Bill,  yet the President of Uganda does not have the power to veto a private member bill. Despite being informed of this misrepresentation ALLOUT continues to promote its incorrect Petition.  The request of the Petition cannot be accomplished either in the short or long term.

2. By this assertion ALL OUT seems to deny the fact that the entire world erupted into protest against the Bill. There are many other actions, including diplomacy by the U.S. State department, direct advocacy by Ugandan Gay rights activists,  and other correct petitions and much more that could feasibly lay the same claim to success that ALLOUT is doing.

Here is the e-mail sent to people by ALLOUT claiming victory and asking for donations:

“Dear Melanie,

BREAKING: Uganda’s Parliament just closed without voting on the “Kill the Gays” bill. Your pressure built to an unstoppable force that made Uganda’s politicians drop the bill way down the agenda – thank you. But they’ll be back in just a month, and their first order of business could be passing the bill.

Now is the moment to fight back with everything we’ve got in Uganda – and everywhere anti-gay laws exist. We can already see the massive impact we’ve had, so now we’re pulling out all the stops.

We have an amazing chance to fight back harder than ever, but we need your help. An All Out member has just pledged US$50,000 to turn the tide on anti-gay laws – but only if the rest of us are also willing to step up and pitch in too. If just 2,000 people make a gift to All Out in the next 5 days, it will trigger this incredible grant to strengthen our work around the world.

URGENT: Make a gift NOW to unlock this amazing resource to fight for love worldwide.

If you help meet the challenge in the next 5 days, your gift for equality – whether it’s £5, $25 or €50 – will be worth more than $50,000. This challenge is not about how much any one person can afford, but how many of us can come together to fight for what’s right. It’s about showing that enough of us have the commitment and drive to get the job done.

Being an All Out member means you know the extraordinary power of thousands of small acts – whether it’s clicks, calls or coins – coming together for a single, just purpose. More than 200,000 All Out members signed the petition to stop the “Kill the Gays” bill in less than a week. If just 2,000 of us make a gift in the next 5 days it will unlock the challenge grant to fight the bill and other anti-gay laws just like it – wherever it is needed most.

Fight back and make a real difference in one of the 76 countries where it’s illegal to be gay – give today and ask your friends to join you too.

We know the nightmare won’t stop at Uganda’s borders. The “Kill the Gays” bill passing could also embolden homophobic government officials in other countries where LGBT lives are at stake. Nigeria has proposed a similarly draconian “Jail the Gays” bill – which could pass any day now. There are more than 5 people fighting for their freedom in Cameroon after being charged under the existing anti-gay laws. We need to stop these horrific laws in their tracks and erase those that already exist.

All Out is not funded by governments – so they can’t control us. We’re not funded by corporations – so they can’t make us keep quiet. But that means we count on you when the stakes are high. That means we’re counting on you right now.

Make your gift now:www.allout.org/fight-back

Thank you,

Andre, Guillaume, Hayley, Jeremy, Joe, Kate, Leandro, Mike, Pablo, Sara, Tile, and Wesley

P.S. All Out members come from all walks of life, ages, and nationalities – and we know not everyone can make a financial contribution when doing so could put their very lives in danger. If you’re fortunate enough to be in a position to donate for equality today, please consider making a gift for someone who can’t. And if you can’t make a gift at this time, you can still help unlock the challenge: forward this email to help get the word out and activate your network to meet the goal. Every effort makes a huge difference.

*US$50,000 = € 38.238, £ 31.054, Ar$ 242.475, R$ 105.060″

The truth is that Parliament delayed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) until February because Parliament ran out of time and the AHB slipped down on the agenda because of precedence given to the OIL BILL , a Presidential speech, and the Accounting Bill.  There is no nexus to ALLOUT’s Petition or any other particular advocacy.

I do not find any direct link between what ALL OUT Petition claims to do and a current or potential impact on Uganda’s fight against Kill the Gays.  Certainly not in isolation, as it seems to assert.

I find this letter to be exploitative and the folks at ALLOUT should be ashamed to be using the Ugandan situation for their own gain. If anything, even though raising consciousness amongst westerners,  such Petitions may be causing more harm than good.   I challenge ALLOUT to reveal how the dollars are actually spent.

What is Andre Bank’s salary? and the others on the team?

If they are serving the interests of the Ugandan LGBT community, perhaps ALLOUT should consider raising money for the victims on the ground and those who will need safe houses and other resources to escape Ugandan anti-gay persecution.

There are so many other activists working on a voluntary basis making not one cent for hours and hours spent on helping to deter this Bill.

I am calling on ALLOUT for transparency to outline exactly how they plan to spend the $50,000 plus all monies raised on the Ugandan Bill.

Melanie Nathan
nathan@privatecourts.com
Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 3.58.27 PM

UPDATE #1  12/14/2012
My EMAIL today TO Andre Banks of ALLOUT:

Andre,1. On what basis are you claiming victory for the recess of Uganda’s parliament, yielding non passage of the Bill at this time?2. What are your plans for the $50,000 and the matching funds you plan to raise – does that have a specific designation for anti-AHB advocacy or is it going to ALLOUT’s operational use?3. Can you please provide the direct nexus you claim to have in your assertion that ALLOUT can claim victory for the AHB no longer being on top of the Ugandan Parliament’s Order papers?4.  Do you ahve a comment for the fact that I have written that ALLOUT has misrepresented that Museveni has veto power in your quest to obtain signatures – my assertion is that you are using misleading information to obtain Petition signatures?5. Please can you provide a disclosure of your ALLOUT salary?Thanks for your kind attention to my questions.regards,Melanie MELANIE NATHAN PRIVATE COURTS, INC.

 

MELANIE NATHAN
PRIVATE COURTS, INC.

12/15/2012 update # 2

Screen Shot 2012-12-15 at 9.41.59 AM

As ALL OUT is ramping up its fund raising efforts for its organization on the backs of Uganda’s unfortunate  Kill the Gays Bill,  – you will note that word “stalled” to create the false impression that the Ugandan Kill the Gays Bill was stalled as a direct result of ALL OUT’s petition:-

ANDRE BANKS DID NOT RESPOND TO MY E-MAIL for transparency.

I sent a second e-mail today 12/15/2012 after some research on my part: I noticed this time my email bounced bank from Andre Banks’ address and so I resent it from another e-mail address. I wonder if he blocked my e-mail as the newly sent one did not bounce back:-
Here is the new e-mail:

Sent: Saturday, December 15, 2012 09:12 AM
To: info@allout.org, andre@aollout.org
Subject: Time Sensitive Questions Re Research ALL OUT

Dear Andre,

Please can you provide direction or comment with regard to the following. I would also appreciate a correction if I am incorrect in any of my understanding as indicated below:

My understanding of the construct of All Out as an Organization is as follows:

1. Do you have IRS 501 (c) 3 status via “The Purpose Foundation” – this is alluded to/ stated on your ALL OUT Privacy Policy page. I cannot find a webpage online or any IRS 990 forms for “The Purpose Foundation” or for ALL OUT, kindly direct me to where I can find this?

2. You have separately registered as a 501 (c) 4 – – this is alluded to but not specifically stated in small print at the bottom of your donations page – where you note your purpose as a campaign organization
is this IRS status under the name ALL OUT or also under “The Purpose Foundation”

3. ALL OUT was founded by Andre and Jeremy with involvement from the “for profit” enterprise that Jeremy is currently involved with which is known as Purpose and located at- http://www.Purpose.com – please can you confirm that initial involvement. Is Purpose.com still working with ALLOUT and in what capacity.

4. When was your latest IRS 990 filing and where can it be found

5. Please can you name the members of the Board for ALL OUT or any group that serves as its non profit proxy.

6. When people donate money on your donation page does it go to ALL OUT account via the 501 (c) 4 status?

7. Can you kindly provide a copy of or a link to your annual budget?

8. Kindly provide disclosure of your annual salary via ALL OUT and connected affiliates?

I am under deadline for this information and would greatly appreciate a reponse as soon as possible, – specifically by Tuesday 6 PM.

Thanks very much for your kind co operation.

Regards,
Melanie .

I have to thanks a volunteer researcher who came up with this thought:

I wonder if AllOUT will be donating any of their new found $50,000 pledge + 2,000 ‘gifts for equality’ to SMUG, the Ugandan organization they linked themselves to with this press quote yesterday, where AllOUT  said:

“AllOut.org, which collected more than 240,000 petition signatures opposing the legislation and is working in tandem with SMUG, expects to continue fight against the bill when Parliament reopens in February.”

SMUG’s entire organization exists on an annual budget of $45,000 which itself is less than half of the purported grant pledge never mind the required gifts of ‘£5, $25 or €50’ collected to “make” the grant happen.

update # 3 12/15/2012 11.47 AM

PURPOSE FOUNDATION HAS LISTED ALL OUT ON ITS 2010  IRS 990 Form  on Guidestar.  I am unable to find 2011’s form which may not have been filed yet.  Still researching.

The form does not list Andre Banks.   It does list Jeremy Heimans and Richard Socarides and others.   Revenue for 2012 was $625,107 USD.  Expenses were $177,000. 

I wonder if ALL OUT really needs to use the Ugandans plight as a fundraising tool?


20 thoughts on “ALLOUT petition misrepresents purpose and exploits Ugandan Kill the Gays

  1. I think we should pressure Allout to specify the Ugandan CSCHRCL as the recipient of the donations, since they themselves are taking paypal donations on their website and their leadership has agreed on managing all financial support centrally.
    I e-mailed them about this, which everyone can do: info@allout.org and wesley@allout.org

    If that is where the funds are meant to go – which is what I at first assumed – this could be a very helpful campaign.
    If it is in fact meant to go to Allout’s general work it is unconcionable. But nothing we can’t try to change!

  2. I sent Allout another e-mail. Copying & pasting below as an example in case you want to promote this as a way to pressure them to do the right thing:

    Hi,

    since I have seen previous campaigns from Allout I have perceived you to be serious, and to responsibly consult with activists in the countries whose issues you highlight.

    For that reason my first thought on your latest campaign to raise money against the Kill the Gays legislation in Uganda was that surely, you intend to donate it to or with the supervision of the Ugandan CSCHRCL. They long ago made it clear to foreign allies how they want this money spent:

    “5. Contribute physical, financial, or technical support to the LGBTI community as well as the
    exposed Human Rights Defenders working with LGBTI rights who are likely to begin to be
    arrested and charged almost as soon as the Bill is passed. The entire leadership of the
    Uganda Coalition has decided that any such assistance shall be channeled through a central
    point at the CSCHRCL secretariat from where it shall be communally managed.”

    However, if this is so it’s not stated anywhere in your fundrasing drive. I therefor at first thought this was for security reasons. But as CSCHRCL are taking donations on their own website, I no longer think that’s the case.
    Meanwhile, knowledgeable and respected LGBTI-activists are now criticizing you for exploiting this horrific situation for your own gains. See for instance Melanie Nathan: http://oblogdeeoblogda.me/2012/12/14/allout-petition-misrepresents-purpose-and-exploits-ugandan-kill-the-gays/
    I assume you know this, but to be clear: [IN BOLD] simply raising public awareness about this law in Western countries will NOT help stop this bill and may in fact harm this work. [END BOLD] This because of the widespread public perception in Uganda of the role of Western NGO-workers and governments in “promoting” homosexuality (conflated with pedophilia). [IN BOLD] Financial support from westerners of course needs to be directed to Ugandan advocates and activists.[END BOLD]

    I actually believe this could be a wonderful campaign to help the Ugandan activists on the ground raise funds. But without a clarification from you, I can not argue with your critics.

    Please clarify that you are consulting with Ugandan advocates on every action taken on Uganda, and assuring that the funds will be spent so as to best support them and their work?

    Sincerely, Suzanne

    1. Tweeted this article to Andre & Joe & @allout & @purpose & Jeremy Heinem with a question, encourage everyone to do so. (FIght clicktivism with clicktivism!) Still hoping they will do the right thing – really think if they don’t the backlash will be hugely problematic for them.

  3. I’ve been signing their various petitions. For some reason I didn’t get this one. Or maybe I just didn’t read all the way down and deleted it…
    Either way, I’m with you. I was a bit sceptical of them already since I sent a couple of emails regarding some serious cases and never received a response of any kind.

    1. yes there is a form and their finances are public. just have not had the time to research and see if they are online. but can request same. will be looking this weekend.

      1. There is a connection to how some individuals in Uganda are living a very flashy life, ensconsed high-pay apartments, drive cars way above even those with regular incomes can, are always appearing in that particular paper to say something about the gay situation in Uganda ( talking about gay situation is not bad BUT there is need to depict that the favoured speakers are not the only activists doing work in Uganda). If you would you like direction on what to ask specifically to see who gets the funds look no further. You may be shocked with the outcome.

  4. It is very clear ALL OUT doesnt understand the situation in Uganda because to claim such victory because of mere signatures is sheer arrogance and/or ignorance. Like Melanie said, such signatures may even worsen the situation since the author of the Bill and a big number of Ugandans claim that homosexuality is a western “vice” that is being imposed on Africans. Let them donate some of their monies to SMUG… At least we’ll take them seriously.

  5. Yes, this is a disgraceful attempt by AllOut to use an overseas cause for their [likely] dubious fundraising efforts. The bill has, once again, been frustrated by high level Ugandan political maneuvering; with the president himself who has done everything he can to ensure that the Speaker of Parliament doesn’t deliver the Christmas gift she promised. Look at how President Museveni scheduled a pointless Parliamentary address on Uganda’s oil strategically to push any debates off the agenda till next year. The oil bill had already passed (to Kadaga’s chagrin) and Museveni was just ensuring that he closed off any debate time for anything else so he came to Parliament and said nothing significant other than to gossip about Parliamentarians that he was irritated with.

  6. And Tom Rogers Muyunga Mukasa … please inbox me at supakoja@yahoo.com. I agree with some of what you are saying about the Ugandan activists, but on the whole think you are being unfair given your own current circumstances and the bigger picture. But I feel we need to discuss this away from the cameras so to speak.

  7. Still no shame from the guys at AllOUT. Now they are fundraising using Roger in Cameroon’s plight. Someone needs to challenge them to give some of their riches to the people on the ground in these countries doing more than clicking petition emails from the comfort of their couches…

    “Wow. We’re blown away. When All Out members step up they really go ALL OUT. In less than 5 days, more than 2,000 of you helped answer the challenge to unlock an amazing $50,000 to fight anti-gay laws worldwide. We can’t tell you how much impact this will have in the fight to legalize love – everywhere.

    AND, the generous supporter who issued the challenge was just as inspired by your response. So inspired, in fact, that we’ve been issued a NEW challenge – if just 1,000 more people make a gift in the next 24 hours, we’ll get a bonus US$10,000* to fight dangerous anti-gay laws worldwide.

    This is such a critical time. On Monday, a man named Roger in Cameroon lost his case challenging his 3-year prison sentence under an anti-gay law. In Russia, there’s a proposed law before Parliament that would make it illegal to even talk about being gay. With your gift today, we can make sure we’re able to stand up to these laws where they’re already sending people to jail. We can stop new laws just like them from passing. We can respond whenever crises like these emerge. By giving now, you can help us reach our most ambitious fundraising goal ever.”

    1. THEY STILL HAVE NOT RESPONDED TO MY EMAILS. Disgusting indeed, however they are legally obliged to provide the disclosure I ask for. lets see if they update their website to include the data recommended for all Non profits.

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