Lending Linnea: The Fundraising Debate

By: Heather Seebach

If you're inclined to boil the world down to black and white, there are two types of people: those who would give spare change to a beggar, and those who would respond, "Get a job, you bum!" In reality, it is more shades of grey than that. We are naturally - and necessarily - wired with a sense of distrust. Does this person really need the money, or are they just lazy? Has life truly dealt them a bad hand, or are they looking for an easy fix? We can never be certain if someone is trying to take advantage of good-willed folk or if they really need the help. That is why acts of kindness are so rare these days, and why asking for help is so frowned upon.

When genre actress Linnea Quigley asked for financial assistance, the reaction from horror fans was decidedly mixed. Ms. Quigley is in dire straits due to a collapsing roof. According to the fundraiser description, she put her acting career on hold to move in with and take care of her parents, who have since passed away and left behind a house badly in need of repairs. Naturally, you'd think: "Well, famous or not, she should be responsible for her own debts! We all have bad things happen to us and times get tough!" All true, but that is not to say that we human beings cannot extend a helping hand now and then, especially to someone that has meant something to us.

GoFundMe.com, like countless other personal fundraiser and crowd-sourcing websites, is basically an outlet for begging - let's not sugar-coat it. There are thousands of folks on these sites asking friends/family/whoever for money. As I type this, the second most popular campaign on GoFundMe is for a couple who lost their apartment home to a fire. Others include pets in need of surgery, ill family members, and car repairs. Basically, they cover the gamut of crap that life throws at us. Should all these people be responsible for their own problems? Of course! Again, that is not to say a little help is not always wanted. 

I am Facebook friends with some very nice people who have asked for money this way, including a long-distance couple who needed financial assistance to see each other again. Even though I hardly knew them then, I saw two nice people in need of help - a worthy cause, in my mind. Many people out there never ask for money (myself included) - some are not needy, and some just have too much pride. Still, there are many others who need the help and these sites exist for that.

Some naysayers of Linnea's campaign have complained she is "taking advantage" of her fans. As with all charitable acts, people are under NO obligation or "duty" to help. It's merely a request for help and a channel through which you may do so. You are 100% welcome to ignore and decline it. As Quigley has raised nearly $5k already, she clearly has fans who are willing and able to help. She is not taking away from more worthy campaigns, either. Nobody is wandering over to GoFundMe with $10 in their proverbial pocket thinking, "Gee, who will I give this to? These dying babies or, OH! LINNEA QUIGLEY!" No, these are fans who found the site through Linnea, and - guess what? - that will actually draw attention to other campaigns, as well. 

How many times have we heard this heart-warming story: There is a mother of three in the grocery store checkout aisle. She comes up shy of her grocery total, and the stranger in line behind her picks up the tab. "Pay it forward", as they say. Never fails to warm the heart, eh? Now, we could think of a thousand ways to tear down that act of kindness - Did she really need ALL those groceries? She could have put back those cookies! She could buy the generic-brand! Why did she even have so many kids if she can't afford them?! And so on and so forth. It's so easy to pass judgment on strangers, but it's so much nicer to just shut up and spread a little good will.

But Linnea Quigley is FAMOUS, you say! Well, yes and no. I don't expect B-actors like herself to be rolling in the dough, nor do I expect them to be super savvy and save all their cash. Shit, I don't even do that. MOST of us don't do that. And I never had to quit my job to care for my parents. Either way, it's obvious she does not have the money (I know I wouldn't), but what it comes down to is: does she have a right to ask for help? Does anybody? Of course they do. It harms literally no one.

She has made hundreds of movies/shows! She probably blew all that money on expensive shit and now wants us to bail her out! Well, you might be right. This brings us back to my earlier point that kindness is an act of faith. You don't know if that homeless dude is just going to buy booze with that fiver you have him but that does not take away from the good deed. 

I just don't understand why this campaign agitates so many fans. You'll lay out $10-20 to stand next to her in a photograph but you won't donate half that to help the actress out of a tight spot? Granted, I agree that Quigley would do better to offer a reward ala Kickstarter - signed 8x10's, perhaps - but maybe she is not familiar with those donate-for-perk sites. I have no idea. Still, I've been hearing a lot of, Well, guess I'll start asking people for money to fix my problems too! Well, you can - nobody is stopping you. But with a shitty attitude like that, don't hold your breath.

One final note about these reactions to Linnea's campaign: some of them have been downright disgusting if not misogynistic. I saw one guy say, Yeah I'll give her money...if she comes over to "go over the details" lol. Um, gross. Then there are lots of, Why doesn't she just do porn? Or a strip show? She obviously does nudity. You are seriously asking why this 56-year old does not take off her clothes for money to save her home? Am I the only mind finding all this disgusting? I'm not usually so sensitive to this sort of thing, but UGH. 

Anyway, if you have made it this far into my rant - thanks for reading. I just wanted to put in my two cents on this issue as it has been causing an uproar on my Facebook feed lately. I apologize for all the mushiness - it won't be the first time I have been accused of being a "bleeding heart liberal." Frankly, I don't care if you donate or not, I just wanted to respond to some of the criticisms out there I consider to be harsh. Feel free to comment below - all opinions are welcome here, I only ask that you respect mine, as well. 

If you would like to donate to Linnea's fund, the link is here: http://www.gofundme.com/8tvf3o

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