Australian Will Connolly, aka Egg Boy, will be donating nearly $70,000 to two non-profit organizations that have been supporting the Christchurch community ever since the mass shooting that took the lives of 51 Muslim worshippers in March. Connolly, 17, had received the funds through two separate GoFundMe accounts after video footage of him smashing an egg on the head of Islamophobic politician Fraser Anning went viral; Anning was voted out of office earlier this month.
The money had initially been raised to cover legal fees for Connolly, who was taken into custody after the egging, but a law firm stepped in to represent the teenager pro bono. “Finally!!! After a huge amount of red tape, $99,922.36 has today been transferred to the Christchurch Foundation and Victims Support,” wrote Connolly on social media. “I decided to donate all monies to help provide some relief to the victims of the massacre … it wasn’t mine to keep.” The Victim Support organization has raised over $7 million for the victims of the Christchurch mosque attacks since March 15th and stopped accepting donations for earlier this morning. “Funds raised have been invaluable in helping those affected to rebuild their lives,” said Victim Support’s chief executive in announcing the final push for donations.
The egging seemed to have tapped into a global angst over politicians and other leaders who unapologetically peddle Islamophobic, distorted ideas to the public. The incident launched Connolly to fame as a sort of everyday hero, giving the world a bit of catharsis after a period of collective grief and frustration. “It’s blown up completely out of proportion to the point where it’s kind of embarrassing,” Connolly said at the time. “Too much attention is actually brought away from the real victims’ suffering. We should be focusing on them.”
His decision to donate the funds that were raised in his name was perhaps the only real option he had, but it nonetheless draws the spotlight back onto the victims who, after all, are only two months out from the terrible tragedy. He urged people this week to “Keep spreading the love.”
Last week, the Christchurch shooter was charged with carrying out a terrorist act, which is in addition to 51 counts of murder and 40 counts of attempted murder. The New York Times reported that New Zealand has rarely charged a suspect with terrorism. If convicted of the charges, the shooter will be sentenced to life in prison. His next court appearance will take place next month.