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Indie studio Klei donates an incredible $1m to ACLU, NAACP

I’m sorry? Klei donated how much? That’s incredible.

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Klei / Thumbsticks

I’m sorry? Klei donated how much? That’s incredible.

Black Lives Matter protests have been taking place across the United States after a Black Minnesota man, George Floyd, was killed by a police officer on May 25, 2020. That police officer knelt on his neck and back for almost nine minutes, while Floyd called out that he couldn’t breathe and three other officers stood and watched. The killing was filmed and widely shared, which led to protests; first in Minnesota, then nationwide.

In the days of protest since, police forces and national guard have responded with force, pelting protesters and press alike with tear gas and batons and rubber bullets. It’s a heavy-handed and militaristic response to what feels like inevitable action, protests against hundreds of years of racial inequality and institutionalised violence.

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The video game industry has, as it often does, stepped up to help. There’s very little we can do, of course. There’s precious little material change, other than raise and donate money to charities and groups supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. We even got in on the act, small a contribution as it was, and recommend you do the same.

But in what can only be described as an astonishing donation, indie studio Klei has today announced it has donated $1m US to ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the legal defence fund of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

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Yes, that’s Klei, the indie studio behind Don’t Starve, Invisible Inc, and Oxygen Not Included, among others.

We all knew Klei’s games were popular, but that’s a staggering amount of money for an indie studio to donate. To be clear, that’s the same donation as Google-owned YouTube. (And unlike YouTube, Klei doesn’t make advertising revenue from white supremacy and conspiracy theories.)

In the forum post linked in Klei’s tweet above, forum administrator Bigfoot wrote:

“As a part of the global community, we believe each of us need to do our part to make the world a safer, kinder, more equal place. As a studio we have much to learn and we do our best to contribute. While we regularly donate to local and global causes, we generally do not announce them and prefer to do the work quietly.

In this instance, we feel it is important to let others know we are standing with them, and hopefully inspire others to contribute as best they can.

Black Lives Matter, and we stand with the Black community. In an effort to take substantive action toward civil rights, equality, and against racial injustice, Klei is donating $1 million between the ACLU and the NAACP legal defense fund.”

Well played, Klei. Good on you.


If you’re looking for ways to help, this Black Lives Matter Carrd site features a wealth of information on ways to help, funds you can donate to, and resources covering everything from protesting to mental health.

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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