Ezra Levant has always been a little pisher more sued than suing, coughing up groveling apologies and defamation payouts with remarkable regularity over the years whenever his prodigious yap teams up with his tenuous relationship to the realité (Franks passim, ad absurdum).
But what’s this I hear about the defrocked legalist now dropping his own legal threats on social media boo-birds who dare question his latest Rebel Media online begathon, an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for Fort McMurray?
No good deed goes unpunished, and the Rebel Commander’s many, many detractors have outrageously accused him of cynically exploiting the tragedy simply to feed his bottomless appetite for self promotion:
@a_picazo (Alheli Picazo): Of course Ezra would use the devastation in Fort Mac to build his own brand…there is no reason – none – to put yourself between donors and @redcrosscanada
Indeed, some wonder just what his offer to serve as Red Cross’ public-spirited middleman accomplishes, apart from slapping his much-tarnished brand on other donors’ philanthropy.
After all, despite Rebel’s assurances that “100 per cent of all funds will go to the local Red Cross,” Indiegogo skims five per cent off the top as its take of all successful campaigns. With over $160,000 now in the kitty, that’s $8,000 that could have gone directly to Red Cross if the dosh didn’t bounce off Ezra’s begging bowl first.
And that’s not counting the other middlethingies. Donating with PayPal? That’s another 1.6 per cent, plus 30 cents per transaction.
Further, no money changes hands until the deadline passes and the fundraising target’s hit, so the Red Cross won’t get a sou until June, likely a little tardy for emergency relief, but it’s the thought that counts, eh?
And then there’s the matter of tax receipts. Ezra proved remarkably sensitive to suggestions that Rebel Media, as the presumptive donor of the moolah, would qualify for the whopping charitable tax credit based on the total amount raised.
The Alberta government and the feds are also providing matching funds for individual, others pointed out, but not corporate donations, so was it possible the Rebel me-too scheme would leave huge piles of cash on the table that would otherwise go to fire victims?
These petty cavils seemingly inspired an update from Rebel:
“The Red Cross reached out to thank us for our tremendous efforts. They even said they would work with us to issue the appropriate tax receipt for our contributors. We are still ironing out the details on the tax receipt, but we will keep you posted!”
And still Ezra’s haters were unmollified:
@canadiancynic (CC): As if the Red Cross doesn’t have *enough* to do, now they have to allocate resources to clean up Ezra’s mess?
What about the perks Rebel is offering donors, including exciting subscriptions to its “premium content?” While few have ever seen fit to pay for these, the subs have a nominal cash value and hence could still add up to a tidy tax deduction for Ezra’s humble AV club, while allowing him to boast of swelling ranks of new subscribers.
Stung by such criticism, Levant has started doing a little reaching out of his own:
@AndrewBerkshire (Andrew Berkshire): Ezra Levant is DMing me to intimidate me after I posted that how gross it is that he’s telling people to donate to him instead of Red Cross.
And at least one of Ezra’s Twitter tormentors, BC-based malcontent Adam Stirling, got served with a cease and desist letter from Levant’s legalist and took down some of his spicier suggestions the constabulary may have taken an interest in Rebel’s Fort Mac scheme. Nothing could be further from the truth, bien sûr!
Meanwhile, the simplest and least emetic way to give money to Red Cross in this time of need remains, er, giving money to Red Cross. Text REDCROSS to 30333, call 1-800-418-1111 or go to redcross.ca. Tell ’em Frank sent you and get absolutely nothing.