Tucker Carlson inadvertently helped raise $14,000 for abortion rights

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Hours after the Supreme Court overturned Raw vs. Wade On Friday, Tucker Carlson took to the airwaves to speak out against companies that would pay for abortion and travel costs for employees. “They’re against families,” the Fox News host said of the companies on Tucker Carlson Tonight.

But while Carlson was giving his comment, an image from his show was actually being used quite differently: raising money for groups that facilitate abortion.

Anonymous online bidders in the digital space known as web3 were offering thousands of dollars in NFT cryptocurrency made from a screenshot of Carlson at the show last year as he called for body autonomy in coronavirus vaccines. NFT will continue to sell on Saturday for 12 eth — about $14,500 — with the creator, Jenny Holzer, saying it will donate the money it makes from the sale to groups including Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights and Advocacy in D.C. Collection PAI.

(An NFT token, or a non-fungible token, is a uniquely stamped digital image of its creator. Eth is the name of a popular cryptocurrency associated with the Ethereum blockchain on which many NFTs live.)

The move underscores the free nature of Web 3, where unbridled injections of money mingle with loose standards of creative ownership. It also represents one of the strangest unwitting acts of philanthropy – activists outraged by the court’s overturning of Rowe collecting money on the back of someone who so strongly attacked the 1973 ruling. Last week, Carlson Call Ro “The most embarrassing court decision of the last century” and “a widely recognized joke”.

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On the May 11, 2021 programme, Carlson spoke with Senator Ron Johnson (R-whiskey) about Johnson’s decision not to receive a coronavirus vaccine. As Carlson agreed with Johnson—”Well of course; the Fox News host said—it’s your body, your choice, as we’ve been hearing for nearly 50 years—the chyron displayed the message of body independence. “Making an informed decision about your body shouldn’t be controversial.” , Read the text at the bottom of the screen.

Planned Parenthood in Florida quickly noticed The similarity of kerons with abortion rights. These echoes also struck a Washington-based communications strategist named Gillian Branstetter, who noticed some similarities to Holzer’s work as well. A veteran artist, Holzer is known for combining text and images to illustrate some political points. In the 1970s she created the Sober Truth series, which made art out of messages like “Abuse of Power Comes No Surprise” that she then broadcast in the lights above Times Square.

Soon after, Branstetter screen grabbed Carlson, Johnson and the leader, and appended the message “This is like Jenny Holzer’s installation or something right?” He tweeted it to tens of thousands of her followers. Next, Holzer had the idea to create the NFT from Branstetter’s tweet, and after news of the veto of the court’s draft opinion Ro broke out this spring, I decided to sell it when the verdict came down.

“I’ll admit a lot of ignorance about NFTs in general, but I was happy to give permission for this work to help raise some much-needed money for abortion access,” Branstetter told the Washington Post via Twitter DM on Monday. Branstetter is a communications strategist at the ACLU but emphasized that she did so as a private citizen independently of her employer. Branstetter’s deal with Holzer resulted in her taking 15 percent of the money the artist receives from the sale, which she says she will donate all toDC Abortion Fund.

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In a phone interview, Branstetter said she remained somewhat puzzled about how to efficiently turn digital commentary into a major fundraiser.

“Don’t ask me to explain how my tweet turned into nearly $15,000 for abortion rights,” she said.

Holzer did not immediately respond to a request for comment submitted by The Post via her studio. In a statement announcing the sale, I explained the rationale for the NFT. “Although the title was meant to be read as an anti-vaccine comment, the words could also be a pro-choice statement,” she wrote of chyron.

A Fox News spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the network and Carlson.

Holzer put the NFT up for auction at approximately 12:30 p.m. Friday, right after the decision in Dobbs vs Women’s Health Jackson download. I included it in half my moral, or about $600. Within six hours, a group of bidders raised the price to nearly $13,000, before the winning bid was submitted on Saturday around noon.

The sale on the Foundation NFT website listed an anonymous cryptocurrency address as the buyer. The Post identified a Twitter account last November that said it was the owner of the title; who – which the accountAnd the Which Tweeting Friday about the Holzer auction, he says he is connected to a group called PleasrDAO, which calls itself “a group of DeFi leaders, early NFT collectors, and digital artists who have built a formidable but benevolent reputation for acquiring culturally significant pieces with a philanthropic twist.” (DeFi refers to decentralized finance. , which is the term used for financial transactions in the Web 3.)

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Despite the sale, who actually owns the NFT is a complex question, legal experts say. The NFT was created by Holzer from a screenshot by Branstetter, but the image is of Carlson as he appeared on a Fox-owned display.

“I think it will end up being a fair use argument, and both the Fox and NFT creators can make a case,” he said. Darren Heitner, an intellectual property attorney based in Florida with deep experience in this new digital space. He said, citing two legal standards that would prohibit use.

One of the interesting questions being asked by NFTs, which are often resold, he said, is whether Fox could theoretically win an injunction that would stop Carlson NFTs from being sold again. “This is a new area of ​​law,” he said, “and I don’t think we’ve come up with a lot of details just yet.”

Meanwhile, those behind the NFT have been less eager to indulge in those details and more eager to get their message out about abortion rights.

“Physical independence and self-determination can be risky, but privacy and health are two pillars of the women’s reproductive rights movement,” Holzer wrote on Instagram. “Social health is the goal. We must protect the rights of the individual that protect the health of the community.”

Jeremy B. Merrill contributed to this report.

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