Susan G. Komen denies censoring message boards

February 2, 2012

Breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen has faced a massive backlash — much of it on social media — since it announced Tuesday afternoon that it would cut its funding to Planned Parenthood. Angry commenters have made their voices heard on Komen’s Facebook wall and message boards. But Wednesday, many of those commenters said their posts had been deleted. Komen denied the accusations.


Susan G. Komen message board.

Leslie Aun, vice president of communications for Komen, says the charity has not deleted any posts as a result of the controversy. “The only time we delete messages is for profanity,” she said.


Nancy G. Brinker. (Matt McClain/For The Washington Post)

When the charity posted a video to YouTube by founder and CEO Nancy G. Brinker explaining the Planned Parenthood decision, commenting on the video was initially disabled. A posting of that video on Facebook received thousands of comments. A number of those commenters said their comments were deleted, sometimes more than once. Aun said she did not know how the YouTube comments had been disabled and that they had now been turned back on.

On Twitter, Komen made another gaffe. The charity’s vice president, Karen Handel, re-tweeted a tweet that read: “Just like a pro-abortion group to turn a cancer orgs decision into a political bomb to throw. Cry me a freaking river.” That tweet has since been deleted, but was screengrabbed and spread across the social media site.

The Komen blog was also not working Thursday morning, which Aun said was due to “technical reasons.”

Not all comments were negative. Some users responded applauding the group for pulling out its funding of Planned Parenthood. However, the real affect of the group’s decision may only be seen in future donations. For Planned Parenthood, an outpouring of monetary support has helped fill in some of the gap from what Komen cut.

For Komen, though, the group may not have such an easy time with future donations. Progressive political blog Daily Kos pointed to a Web site that offers up reviews of nonprofits as a sort of Yelp! for people looking for a place to contribute their money. Great Nonprofits now lists the Komen Foundation as 1 star out of 5.

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