Pizza shop who says they’ll deny gays service raises $200K (and rising) in GoFundMe campaign
A GoFundMe campaign has generated almost $200 thousand dollars for an Indiana pizzeria in the wake of the private business saying they would discriminate against gays thank’s to the state’s new religious freedom law.
The crowdfunding campaign is for the newly famous-or infamous, depending on perspective, Memories Pizza.
Memories Pizza, located in rural Walkerton, Indiana, was the first business to publicly come forward to exercise their right to refuse service to LGBT people after the RFRA was passed.
“We’re not discriminating against anyone,” said Memories Pizza owner Crystal O’Connor to WBND in Indiana after saying they would deny their services, such as providing food for a same-sex wedding.
“Its just our belief, and everyone has the right to believe in anything.”
The WBND story was the first coverage of the pizzeria. After the initial backlash from the segment, which according to the family included death and bomb threats, the family was forced to close their restaurant.
Afterward, O’Connor appeared by phone on the radio show of The Blaze’s Dana Loesch.
“I don’t know if we will reopen or if we can,” O’Connor told Loesch. “We’re very hurt and confused and we stood up for what we believed and the news took it totally out of proportion.”
After the story of the business’s closure, the GoFundMe campaign for them began, following in the footsteps of other conservative crowdfunding projects.
The most famous of those projects is the more than $450,000 raised for Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown last August. The campaign was taken down before funds could be distributed to Wilson.
The Memories Pizza crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $160,000 to support the pizzeria’s owners. The campaign’s initial goal was $25,000.
The money had been raised by more than 5000 people in the last 20 hours.
“The intent [of the campaign is] to help the family stave off the burdensome cost of having the media parked out front, activists tearing them down, and no customers coming in,” said campaign founder Lawrence Billy Jones III.
Among Memories Pizza’s wide-ranging troubles was internet debauchery. The business’ Yelp page was vandalized with images of gay sex and poor reviews. Beyond that, the business did not own the domain name “memoriespizza.com” where a critic of the restaurant’s position posted a fake website.
The fake website has since been taken down and the domain now shares the message “It’s really dumb to not own a domain name for your business. Especially after you spew stupid shit on TV.”
The campaign’s contributors are wide-reaching, spanning the range from $1 to $5000 dollars and being representative of many states. The contributors are also vocal.
“Please know that I am praying for the owner of Memories Pizza and it is time we stand and put a stop to gays and liberals bulling people and businesses,” said contributor Curtis Black.
Alleged bullying, ending of thought and political correctness are common themes in the donation comments.
“I am self employed and struggle to make ends meet but this is the best $10 I will ever spend, I am so sick of the leftist nazis shutting down independent thought and opinion. God bless America and God bless Memories Pizza,” said campaign contributor Jim Rafalin.
It is unknown if the family plans to reopen Memories Pizza.
Ben Weiner is a contributor for GayRVA and RVAMag. 'Nuff said.
Two bills that would allow businesses to discriminate against Virginia’s LGBTQ community were joined into one Senate bill Monday afternoon in Senate General Laws and Technology subcommittee. While a House version of the bill, HB 773, was heard today, the subcommittee joined it with SB 41 by a 8-7 vote across party lines. SB 41, introduced [...]February 22, 2016
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