Celebrity fight promoter accused of "using murder and racial hate" to build an audience.
As of Thursday morning (Feb. 6), more than 10,000 people agree: this George Zimmerman celebrity boxing match is a bad idea.
A petition to stop the fight is posted to the White House website, reports HipHopDX, and the author doesn't care whether Zimmerman puts his gloves up against DMX, Game, or Lindsay Lohan's father (yeah, he put his name in the ring). This match, the petition reads, is "using murder and racial hate" to gain viewers.
The event's promoter, Damon Feldman, is called out as well. "Celebrity Boxing promoter Damon Feldman and George Zimmerman are attempting to promote and profit off of racial tensions in America," the petition continues.
"Damon Feldman has been known for fixing fights and taking short cuts in the past in bypassing state requirements for fighters to obtain a license to box.... In addition the entire idea of this event is to use racial tensions to lure people in to purchase the event. This will only hurt America as it will continue to stir up racial tensions that have been ongoing in this nation for quite some time."
Feldman made the announcement Tuesday (Feb. 4), the eve of Trayvon Martin's birthday, which upset many. He later apologized for that. "I'm sorry if I hurt anybody’s feelings," he told Philadelphia Magazine. "If I would have known… I just had no clue."
He continued by explaining that he doesn't know intimate details about Martin or Zimmerman, and that "this is all just business" for him.
"The thing is, it was thrown into my hands, and I basically just take it as it comes. I wasn’t looking basically for anything other than putting Celebrity Boxing back out there. My events are always surrounded by controversy. That's what Celebrity Boxing is about. I'm in business. This is all just business for me." Proceeds, he promised, would go to charity.
Rev. Al Sharpton understands Feldman's "business" stance, but agrees with the petitioners — Zimmerman is not a celebrity. "We must be very careful not to glorify or in any way sidestep the implications of making someone whose only claim to fame was killing an unarmed young man named Trayvon Martin into a cultural celebrity or hero," he said, according to The Grio.
"[Zimmerman] has the right to pursue whatever he wants in life, yet we also have the obligation to be discerning about who we lift and to what level. It is perfectly legal for him to exploit his fame but we should never forget what he is famous for and not behave like he is a celebrity based on gifts or talent or contributions to society. I am concerned about the precedent that it sets."
Trayvon Martin would have been 19 years old on Wednesday (Feb. 5).
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(Photo: AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank, Pool, File)