Civil Rights Group Praises Cancellation of George Zimmerman's Celebrity Boxing Match
"It was taking a really tragic moment and using it to make money," civil rights activist Rashad Robinson tells THR.
George Zimmerman won't be entering the ring after all.
After facing a backlash, celebrity boxing promoter Damon Feldman tabled a proposed fight between Zimmerman and rapper DMX, announcing the news in a press conference Tuesday. Several days earlier, Feldman briefly called off the fight but hours later said he would hold off on making a final decision.
A second promoter, FilmOn.com CEO Alki David, briefly claimed he would be taking on the fight – but this time donating profits to the Trayvon Martin Foundation. David also backed out after the foundation said it would not accept the money, according to TMZ.
After the fight was announced, activists complained it would be exploiting the death of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager Zimmerman shot and killed, but was acquitted of murdering thanks in part to the state's controversial Stand Your Ground law.
"I hope this puts to rest this sort of salacious and upsetting chapter in this ongoing story of Trayvon Martin," ColorOfChange.org executive director Rashad Robinson tells The Hollywood Reporter. "It was taking a really tragic moment and using it to make money – and further putting Trayvon's family through another round of media attention that wasn't about getting justice for Trayvon."
His organization was one of several which started petitions protesting the proposed fight. The ColorOfChange.org petition attracted 50,000 signatures, while nearly 29,000 people signed a separate petition asking the White House to intervene.
Robinson says he hopes those who were upset by the proposed fight will now turn their energy to other issues relating to Martin's death, such as joining efforts to overturn Stand Your Ground laws.
"We hope that the tens of thousands of people who joined us in this effort will also join us in efforts to shift policies, to really push back on all of the areas that will have a long-term effect," Robinson says.