Sometimes, rather than paying attention to what is actually happening, people choose to search for an alternative theory that better fits their narrative. As Black people and their allies continue to protest against the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black civilians, the conspiracy theorists are out in full force, looking for a way to (yet again) discredit the movement.
Recently, conservative commentator Candace Owens claimed in a series of tweets that George Soros pays protestors, and now other right-wing conservatives have started parroting the theory. Is it true?
Conspiracy theorists are claiming that billionaire George Soros pays protestors.
“The Minneapolis chief of police just confirmed that many of the protesters that are burning down the city are NOT FROM MINNEAPOLIS,” Candace tweeted on Thursday, May 28. “My guess: As he did with Antifa, Democrat George Soros has these thugs on payroll. He is funding the chaos via his Open Society Foundation.”
In other words, Ms. Owens believes that George Soros used his grantmaking network, Open Society Foundations, to hire people to cause “chaos” during the protests in Minneapolis. Let’s clear this up very quickly: No, George Soros does not pay protestors to incite “chaos.” The Open Society Foundation responded to Candace’s claims in a tweet:
George Soros has poured billions of dollars in Open Society Foundations, and some of those funds are used to support liberal and progressive causes, including some organizations that have worked with Black Lives Matter. However, claims that he directly hires people to cause chaos are unfounded. They’re also not new; right-wing conservatives have been trying to push this conspiracy for years.
George Soros doesn’t pay protestors, but you can donate money to their cause.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a billionaire to give money to worthy causes — that’s one of the things that’s still pretty great about this country. The Black Lives Matter protestors are not being paid by George Soros or the Open Society Foundations, but the movement does have needs that require funds. Maybe you’re in a position to help with that.
If so, consider donating to your local Black Lives Matter chapter, or to the BLM Global Network. Contribute to bail funds to help free detained protestors. Check out this list of other antiracist organizations on the frontlines that need monetary support. After that, consider making an everyday purchase that supports a person of color. Buy your next meal from a Black-owned restaurant. Let your next online purchase be from a Black-owned company.
If money is tight at the moment, there are still so many things you can do to support the Black Lives Matter movement and its cause. Go to the protests. Use the Libby app (it’s free!) to check out an ebook about antiracism and/or the broken criminal justice system. Watch videos of YouTubers who are donating ad revenue to Black Lives Matter.
Work to diversify your social media feeds and amplify the voices of people of color — especially of Black folks at this time. Sign petitions. Call your representatives. Talk to your family members. Listen.
Also, remain vigilant about checking into the backgrounds of theories you come across online or in discussions. You’ve got access to the same internet as the rest of us. Use it.