Idaho cop Nate Silvester raises $700K in 2 days on GoFundMe after mocking LeBron James in viral video
In a video update, Silvester in off-duty clothing gives his thanks to people who donated and said he will make more content that will show law enforcement officers 'in a positive light'
Nate Silvester, the Idaho police officer who was suspended for posting a video mocking LeBron James, was overwhelmed to discover that a GoFundMe page set up to support him raised nearly $700,000 in just two days of being set up. As a result, he is now planning to donate a portion of the money to a charity for the families of fallen officers and first responders.
Silvester, an officer in Bellevue, Idaho, was suspended for a week over his viral TikTok video, in which he made fun of Los Angeles Lakers' James, who was accused of threatening the life of Ohio police officer Nicholas Reardon, who fatally shot Ma'Khia Bryant.
GoFundMe raises $168,890 in a couple of days
The fundraiser was set up by Silvester's friend, Gannon Ward. It read: "Hi, my name is Gannon. The recent viral TikTok video of a cop calling out Lebron James has cost the cop, my best friend in the world, Officer Nate Silvester a suspension without pay. He’s still got his job for now, but apparently the town where he polices didn’t find his TikTok as amazingly comical, and accurate as the 4.5 million viewers did, including some major news networks. The future is uncertain. I just don’t want to see my friend lose out on any money for this, when it was meant to be satirical, and to point out an obvious flaw in Lebron’s logic. Please donate what you can contribute. Every dollar helps! Thanks!!"
In a later update, after receiving a stream of donations, Gannon Ward decided to increase the goal, claiming, "Nate is beside himself!! He is SO GRATEFUL for everyone’s donations. He was literally speechless. He has decided to donate a portion to the charity The First Responders Children’s Foundation... His focus now is to help other officers and their families in similar situations!" The fundraiser has currently raised $168,890 of a goal of $200,000.
The GoFundMe page now also has a "video update" where Nate Silvester, in off-duty clothing, gives his thanks to people who donated and said he will make more content that will show law enforcement officers "in a positive light". Watch it here:
'I anticipated some blowback'
Speaking to Gateway Pundit, Silvester said that he anticipated some trouble over his TikTok video which went viral recently. “I never expected my Tiktok to go viral the way it did. However, when it started gaining traction I anticipated that some would come out in opposition and there would be some blowback,” Silvester said. He also claimed that his colleagues and bosses were supportive of his video-making, even as calls to cut him from his job grew louder.
“My immediate supervisors and coworkers have been supportive but have also tried to stay neutral so as not to put their jobs at risk — which is very understandable. They are great officers and incredible human beings,” Silvester said. As for making TikTok videos, he said that he had no plans to stop the same as it was started by him in order to humanize police officers.
The saga sparked off after the Idaho cop responded to LeBron James sharing, and then deleting, a photo on Twitter of police officer Nicholas Reardon, who had shot Ma'Khia Bryant. James had declared in an all-caps caption, "YOU"RE NEXT. #ACCOUNTABILITY."
Following this, police officers began mocking James with videos posted on social media in which they pretended to call and ask him how to diffuse different situations they encounter when responding to 911 calls. Silvester’s video was one of the more popular ones in that genre.
Silvester 'being dealt with internally'
Idaho law enforcement agency said on Tuesday, April 27, they were "internally" dealing with the deputy who posted the viral TikTok video mocking James. In a statement posted to Facebook, the Bellevue Marshal's Office wrote that they are aware of the controversial video posted by Silvester.
"The statements made do NOT represent the Bellevue Marshal's Office. The Bellevue Marshal's Office always demands that our Deputies engage with our citizens in a friendly and professional manner. This is NOT how we expect our Deputies to act on duty or use city time. This is a personnel issue that is being dealt with internally," the statement read. "We would like to thank everyone that took the time to reach out to us. We greatly value our relationship within our wonderful community."