Invisible Children, the nonprofit behind the viral “Kony 2012” documentary, released another video Monday. But this one doesn’t portray the atrocities committed by a brutal Ugandan warlord — it responds to mounting criticism of the campaign and the group’s overall strategy and approach.
CEO Ben Keesey said the group released the new video to be “as transparent as possible.” Though it’s titled “Thank you, KONY 2012 Supporters,” the video primarily aims to subvert skepticism and promote the good intentions of Invisible Children.
Keesey begins by explaining the group’s three-tiered approach: create films with compelling narratives, promote international advocacy and run on-the-ground initiatives. Given this model, he says the criticism has been “difficult” to hear, but he attributes it to naysayers’ lack of familiarity with Invisible Children rather than potential shortcomings or flaws within the organization.
He then moves on to combat some of the major criticisms, which have largely centered on the group’s funding and oversimplification of the issues, throwing in buzzwords that have popped up around the Internet, like slacktivism. Keesey explains how the group allocates its funding, conceding that it does designate a significant portion to filmmaking and travel expenses, as critics have argued, but neglecting to explain exactly how much goes to staff salaries.
He says funding often goes toward thousands of free screenings of the group’s films worldwide, as well as toward bringing survivors of the Lord’s Resistance Army, which is led by Joseph Kony, to speak at these events. Keesey also explains that a considerable amount of funding for operational expenses comes from private donors, in sums as large as $330,000.