A CAMPAIGN BEGUN in response to an attorney’s demand for damages concluded early this morning with more than $220,000 raised for two charities.
The goal was to raise $20,000, but the “BearLove Good. Cancer Bad” charity drive launched by webcartoonist Matthew Inman — and hosted by the crowd-funding site Indiegogo — raised 11 times that much.
“It’s a positive use of the Internet,” Inman, creator of the popular the Oatmeal comic, tells Comic Riffs.of the charity fund, which he says will be divided between the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation. ”I talked to both [charities],” he says, “and they’re really excited.”
Next up is the money shot. Inman promised when he launched his Indiegogo campaign that he would take a photo of the funds raised and send it — along with a “bear love” cartoon — to FunnyJunk and his attorney.
Inman had considered having the money represented as an oversize check, he tells Comic Riffs, but instead, the Seattle-based cartoonist says the bank has agreed to issue the money all in $20 bills — so it looks like an especially expansive amount of money in the photo.
“I’m trying to figure out [the best] tangible way to show the money ... ,” says Inman, who jokes about what he’d like to see in return from the wildlife federation. “I want to see a bear being fed snacks. I paid for this!”
[FUNNYJUNK vs. THE OATMEAL: Attorney sues webcartoonist over Indiegogo charity drive]
Inman launched the campaign earlier this month after he received a letter from FunnyJunk.com attorney Charles Carreon, who demanded that the cartoonist remove references to FunnyJunk from the Oatmeal website; Carreon also sought $20,000 in damages, claiming defamation. A year earlier, Inman posted a blog item saying that the user-generated FunnyJunk was stealing Oatmeal comics, publishing hundreds of them without permission and “mirroring” his site.
On June 15, Carreon told Comic Riffs that he was filing suit against both Inman and Indiegogo over, in part, their status as charitable fundraisers in respect to California law. Carreon’s federal suit, filed in the Bay Area — Indiegogo is based in San Francisco — also names the American Cancer Society and National Wildlife Federation over what the Arizona attorney characterizes as their tacit approval of the charity drive.
Carreon told Comic Riffs that he himself donated to “BearLove” so he would have legal standing in the case; he said he wanted to make sure that the raised funds indeed go to the charities named and not to Inman.
Carreon also told Comic Riffs he wanted to make sure to file his lawsuit before the “BearLove” campaign ended.
In a statement, Indiegogo has called the lawsuit frivolous.
“I think this was his stand to speak out .. ,” Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin tells Comic Riffs on Monday, discussing Inman’s campaign. “This was also a collective call to action — about people expressing their voice with a pointed response.”
In the Oatmeal’s blogpost “FunnyJunk is threatening to file a federal lawsuit against me ... “. this month, Inman said he would also send to FunnyJunk and Carreon a cartoon of the FunnyJunk administrator’s mother trying to seduce a Kodiak bear. Speaking to Comic Riffs, Carreon called the cartoon “revolting” and said he interpreted the cartoon as being about his own mother.
Indiegogo, launched in 2008, has funded more than 100,000 campaigns. Inman told Comic Riffs he chose Indiegogo because the site, unlike Kickstarter, hosts charities.
[THE OATMEAL: 12 Secrets of viral cartoonist Matthew Inman]