Billionaire Funding ‘Abolish the Police’ Activists Invests in Private Security Start-Up
Pierre Omidyar stands to gain financially from the rapid growth in private security.
Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder of eBay, is one of the most generous patrons of activist groups seeking to defund, or in some cases, even abolish police.
Foundations connected to Omidyar have lavished financial support on anti-police activists in recent years. In June 2020, in response to protests over the police killing of George Floyd, funds tied to Omidyar’s philanthropic network announced donations of $500,000 to organizations supporting the protest movement.
The Movement for Black Lives, an “abolitionist” coalition of activists seeking to eradicate public policing, was one of the recipients of Omidyar money that year. Disclosures show that the Omidyar Network provided $300,000 to the group.
“When we say ‘defund and abolish the police,’ we mean exactly that,” the Movement for Black Lives stated in a press release.
The website DefundPolice.org, which provides legislative and communication tools for activists to advocate for cutting police funding, is a collaboration between Omidyar-funded groups. The sponsors of the organization include PolicyLink, which received $700,000 from Omidyar Network and Law for Black Lives, a group that received $600,000 from the Democracy Fund, another Omidyar foundation.
Meanwhile, in his personal capacity, Omidyar has invested in start-ups that specialize in monetizing the growing demand for private security.
One of those investments is Bond, an app that provides licensed bodyguards at the click of a button. Doron Kempel, the founder of Bond, is a former member of Israeli special forces who has pitched his company in the past as a way for customers to “order a bodyguard as easily as they might order dinner online.”
The Uber-for-private security platform has explicitly pitched itself as a service that stands to gain from concerns around deteriorating public safety.