Charity pulls support of Hostage Run; organizer responds

Charity pulls support for 'hostage run'

HAMPTON, Ga. -- On Thursday, the charity partnering with the Hostage Run in Hampton, Ga. pulled their support for the event.

After 11Alive’s story aired, the run organizers now say they're not raising money for anyone but they're not backing down.

The founder of the charity said she was overwhelmed with the negative reaction to the hostage run, and withdrew her support of the event.

And now people associated with the run are also questioning it.

The young girl who appeared in the promotional video for the run said when she filmed it a year and a half ago, it had nothing to do with the military. It was supposed to raise money for victims of human trafficking.

“I brought a lot of heart to that and it's not what I intended it for at all,” Savannah Jordan said.

Jordan and her brother Luke acted in the Hostage Run promotional video.

“The whole video was about raising awareness and to help prevent human trafficking,” Luke said.

But over the past year and a half, the focus of the run changed and it was advertised as a way to raise money for the military.

Local military families were outraged, one posting on Facebook that the event was “like spitting in the face of military” adding “It's beyond disgraceful, it's disgusting.”

Savannah said she understands why people are upset.

“I understand why they would take that offensively, and I know when my dad was in the military, it was hard on my whole family,” she said.

The website still reads that it's a way for military members to challenge themselves. On a Facebook comment, the group describes this as “the only way to make a 200 lb beast feel helpless and test his mind. Inspired by electroshock therapy and waterboarding.”

The Henry County Commissioners approved a permit for the event and said that while some board members are offended by the run, some are inspired by it and they will allow it to continue.

The Hostage Run has insurance, so the county would not be liable if someone hurts themselves running with their hands zip tied behind their back and a bag over their head.

Savannah and Luke's Mom, Margaret said the organizer’s heart was in the right place but that the execution of the event was wrong.

“I just feel like the way it was done was not right,” she said. “We could have been notified. The wording on the website is just not true.”

Late Thursday after repeated requests, the organizer responded with a long letter explaining in part, "I can see now that the run's description on the new website can seem misleading that the whole run was designed for the Troops.  It wasn't.  But we do fully support and believe in the military efforts here and overseas to keep us safe and defend this wonderful country."

Read the full statement here.

We have asked the organizer of the event repeatedly for a comment or an on camera interview.

Today he told me over email he would address the controversy, but then never got back to me.

He told the Newnan Times Newspaper that it was not his intention to offend anyone and now that they're not raising money for charity, it's just a private event that people can choose to attend or not.

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(© 2016 WXIA)


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