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GoFundMe Slammed As “Racist” After Reportedly Freezing Funds Raised For Man Who Violently Assaulted A Homeless Woman

Ashley Gillett

The altruistic story of a young woman helping a homeless man has taken a dark turn after details of the man’s violent history surfaced. As previously reported by The Publica, Sanai Graden went out of her way to help Alonzo Douglas Hebron, who approached her asking for a cup of hot tea while she was on her way to Trader Joe’s.

Instead of just purchasing the tea, Graden decided to help Hebron by buying groceries, purchasing his medications, and getting a hotel room for him. Graden then established a GoFundMe to provide more financial support for Hebron, which rapidly raised over $400,000 after her heartwarming TikTok went viral.

@hustlanani

Please help me help him !

♬ original sound – Nai

But as media attention on the story increased, so did scrutiny of Hebron’s past.

It was quickly uncovered that Hebron has a history of violent behavior, including stabbing another man in the neck with a screwdriver during a fight, and beating a homeless woman while she slept on the steps of a church. After the disturbing new details began to circulate, social media users expressed disappointment that they had financially supported Hebron. GoFundMe then reportedly froze the funds raised by Graden, leading many to speculate that the negative press was the cause.

But while some are hoping to get refunds from GoFundMe for their contribution to Hebron’s fundraiser, others are labeling the situation “racist.”

On February 11, an account called Black Millionaires shared the news of the alleged fund-freeze on X, writing: “Gofundme is refusing to release the $400K in donations given to a homeless man after a viral video from a D.C. college student. They are holding the money due to a woman accusing the man of assault and having a violent past.”

Social media users had mixed responses to the news with some claiming the restriction to the funds is the result of discrimination and racism.

“This is how white American society justifies its racism under the guise of ‘morality’ they’ve built a society rooted in black poverty, dysfunction, oppression and consequently mass incarceration then discriminate against African Americans based on these factors. It’s evil,” said user @GenBlessings99.

Another referenced GoFundMe refusing to release funds to Kyle Rittenhouse during his trial:

“Did GoFundMe remove Kyle Rittenhouse GoFundMe cause he killed 2 people?”

Despite the new information about Hebron’s violent past, donations for him are still pouring in, with many condemning GoFundMe for allegedly withholding the funds.

One person shares how they refused to leave a tip for the donation platform and specifies they donated upon hearing of Hebron’s violent past. 

“I left no tip, intentionally. It is an atrocity that this company will not release the funds. How dare you judge?!!!! We donate this money yo help this man. I donated AFTER hearing of his crime. My intent is to help him. I’d like my intention honored,” the donor said.

Someone else referred to GoFundMe as “criminals” for not releasing the money.

“This is totally unfair that his money is being held bc of something he did in the past. This is unjust and Gofundme are crooks for holding his funds. GIVE HIM HIS MONEY!” 

However, in a TikTok video Graden posted on February 10, she claims the rumors of GoFundMe withholding the donations are “false” and she will be “working with them closely to figure everything out,” assuring her followers she will keep them updated on the situation.

Graden also acknowledges many have had a change of heart about their donations since learning of Hebron’s past. 

“Everyone has different perspectives,” she begins as she encourages anyone with discomfort to request a refund. “Your heart was in the right place at the time,” Graden says, expressing her gratitude for those who wanted to donate but understood concerns of his character. “The man being portrayed in the media is not the man I met,” she says of Hebron, explaining in the video she also didn’t know about his history until she saw it circulating in news reports. 

Graden is still in contact with Hebron and posting videos with him, showcasing their interactions. In one video he sits in the backseat of her car while they talk about food.

In another, he expresses interest in attending her college graduation, “I’m going to be the first one there!” He says excitedly from off-camera. In still another she films herself checking on Hebron while he is experiencing medical complications from his colostomy bag and offers to take him to a doctor, which he declines, instead settling for a delivery of soda.

Graden herself now has a GoFundMe after her followers wanted to “Pay It Forward” by helping her pay off her student debt. “Now, it’s our turn to rally around Nai and support her noble cause.” read the fundraiser.

“By contributing to this GoFundMe, you’re not just funding a college student; you’re investing in a movement of love and empathy. Nai has proven that small acts of kindness can have a profound impact, and together, we can amplify that impact…Let’s create a ripple effect of positivity and pay it forward, just as Nai has done for the homeless community in Washington, DC. Every dollar you contribute is a step towards a brighter, more compassionate world.”

The fundraiser has received over $22,000 so far, with the goal set at $44,444.00.

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Ashley Gillett

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