Thor Halvorssen is gay. The 39-year-old founder of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation has spent his life fighting the abuses of unilateral dictators around the world. And growing up gay may help fuel his fire for fighting for human rights. After all, he knows intimately how it feels to be in a minority group and to be discriminated against.
Even though he is the founder of the Human Rights Foundation, it does not mean he sits on his hands. In fact, he is incredibly hands-on in all of his groups initiatives. According to Crunchbase, Thor Halvorssen famously sent balloons floating into North Korea full of paraphernalia, including cash, informational pamphlets, and DVDs. His group also famously used slingshots in order to fire this paraphernalia into North Korea.
His group’s goal is to educate as many people in North Korea about the outside world as possible. The unilateral dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-Il and, does not allow any information to penetrate his People’s Democratic Republic of Korea. The hope is that thousands of North Korean residents will become aware of the outside world. They will then turn toward their leader to ask why they do not have food, infrastructure, education or freedom.
And this is just what the Human Rights Foundation does. They do not operate in the background by attacking cut and dry policy. Rather, they use pop culture in order to shine a light on human rights abuses around the world.
And their actions against North Korea coincided with the famous hack on the Sony company for the release of the movie The Interview. The whole world was paying attention to North Korea at the time and the Human Rights Foundation jumped on the opportunity to take Kim Jong Un and down a notch.
Halvorssen was born in Venezuela but was educated at the University of Pennsylvania. His mother is of Venezuelan dissent while his father comes from Norway.
His father was famously jailed for 74 days in Caracas as a political prisoner. Thor Halvorssen himself, then a freshmen in college, got the help of Amnesty International to secure his release. Thor’s been doing this for a while.