WeTransfer has announced that it will suspend all advertising across the file-sharing site this weekend (24-25 March) to call for gun reform in the United States. Instead three gun violence-themed projects – by artist Kathy Shorr, author Craig Taylor and filmmakers Kyle Haussmann-Stokes and Ellen Utrecht – will be showcased during the 48 hours.
“We have always given away 30% of our advertising inventory to support the arts, but this time we feel the need to dial it up,” WeTransfer president Damian Bradfield announced in a statement this morning. The decision coincides with tomorrow’s March for Our Lives (March 24), a day of nationwide demonstrations to protest gun violence and current gun laws across the United States.
Bradfield further explained the decision: “Next year my son will go to Middle School here in Los Angeles. After the events in Florida last month he is rightly concerned. His middle school will have 2000+ students, there will likely be metal detectors, he’s concerned that teachers might be armed, he’s concerned about police being on site, he’s concerned he might be shot. He has concerns that I don’t believe any child of 12 years old should have. He’s not alone.”
Kathy Shorr’s series Shot features 101 portraits of Americans who “were shot, who survived, but whose lives changed forever at that moment”. After being threatened at gunpoint in her own apartment, Kathy spent two years travelling across 29 states to meet survivors and capture their stories. “There really is no sanctuary in America that is immune to gun violence,” Kathy, told WeTransfer. "Traveling around the USA for over two years to big cities and smaller towns, I was surprised that the problems we face in the larger metropolitan areas are also affecting our smaller cities and towns.”
Having served in the US Army in Iraq, Kyle Haussmann-Stokes became increasingly concerned that the weapons he, a soldier, had used were also easily available to the public – and consequently were often used in mass shootings. He went on to form Veterans For Gun Reform and, along with producer Ellen Utrecht, has created a powerful film featuring fellow veterans speaking out against high-power rifles like the AR-15, which was used in the recent Parkland shooting. “I felt it was my duty to finally speak out and speak out in a way that would reach a lot of people,” Kyle, told WeTransfer. “It’s not something that we want for sale in this country. It’s not something we want to see used in another mass shooting.”
The final project is by Londoners author Craig Taylor, who has taken “a more personal and emotional approach” with an interactive digital story about one survivor of a shooting in Utah.