After Michael Bloomberg paid some of Instagram’s biggest meme creators to run tongue-in-cheek messages highlighting his campaign, the media workers’ group Study Hall found a way to counter the effort. The group is offering payments of its own for memes that are critical of the candidate’s history of alleged bias.
SH is proud to announce a new initiative: the Negative Bloomberg Meme Microgrant!
1) Make and post an original meme about Michael Bloomberg’s history of racism, islamophobia, sexism, etc.
2) Tag Study Hall
3) We venmo you $5
4) everyone enjoys the meme!
— Study Hall (@studyhallxyz) February 14, 2020
Social media users and rival candidates have already criticized Bloomberg over a perceived history of bias against women and people of color, resurfacing interviews where he made controversial comments involving race and allegations of misogyny from his decades in business. The billionaire and former New York mayor is seeking the Democratic nomination in the presidential race. Despite not appearing in any of the debates so far, his enormous ad budget has helped him rise in polls. As he wins high-profile endorsements and sprinkles the airwaves and internet with advertisements, controversies from his past have naturally drawn greater attention.
— chip / uncut gems spoiler guy (@chipoffyoblock) February 14, 2020
Bloomberg has apologized for the controversial “stop and frisk” policy deployed by the NYPD while he was mayor and vowed to “dismantle systems that are plagued by bias and discrimination,” though some critics say that’s too little, too late.
The stop-and-frisk program allowed police to search people on the street they suspected of being involved in crime, but police disproportionately searched black and Hispanic New Yorkers, particularly in certain largely minority neighborhoods. A federal judge ruled in 2013 that the program violated people’s constitutional rights and found that police were stopping and searching people without reason to suspect they were involved in criminal activity.
Bloomberg’s campaign has also said that some of his crude comments in the past about women were “disrespectful and wrong,” The New York Times reported last year.
— how do i do this (@zoewoofdog) February 14, 2020
The Bloomberg campaign didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry from Fast Company.