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Invisible Children Critics

March 13, 2012 by staff 

Invisible Children Critics, The chief executive of a group that produced a wildly popular video about African warlord Joseph Kony answered critics Monday, defending its tactics and spending practices.

“I understand why a lot of people are wondering, ‘Is this just some slick, kind of fly-by-night, slacktivist thing?’ when actually it’s not at all,” said Ben Keesey of Invisible Children. “It’s connected to a really deep, thoughtful, very intentional and strategic campaign.”

In an online video that runs more than eight minutes, Keesey acknowledges the sting of criticism since Invisible Children released the video “Kony 2012″ last week, becoming an Internet sensation with nearly 75 million views on Google Inc.’s YouTube site alone. The overnight success has earned the San Diego-based nonprofit organization widespread praise and brought heightened scrutiny.

The group has been criticized for not spending enough directly on the people it intends to help and for oversimplifying the 26-year-old conflict involving the Lord’s Resistance Army and its leader, Kony, a bush fighter wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Keesey, 28, said “program expenses” — money that directly benefits their cause — accounted for 80.5 percent to 85.7 percent of total annual spending from fiscal 2007 to 2011. Overhead expenses grew last year largely due to a $330,000 private foundation grant that was designated specifically for operations.

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