A crowdfunding campaign has raised nearly $140,000 for the Indiana pizzeria forced to close its doors after vowing never to cater a same-sex wedding.
The O’Connor family, which owns Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Ind., told local TV station WBND on Tuesday that they supported the Hoosier State’s new “religious freedom” law and would refuse to cater a same-sex wedding if asked to do so because of their religious beliefs. The family clarified that they would never refuse service to a gay or non-Christian customer who came into the restaurant to eat, however.
Still, backlash against the pizzeria was swift from critics of the law, known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Opponents flooded Memories Pizza’s Yelp page with negative reviews on Wednesday.
Owner Kevin O’Connor later told Fox News that the restaurant was also flooded with so many calls for fake pizza orders that he had to close up shop. He said he wasn’t sure when or whether he’d reopen.
Dana Loesch, a host on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze TV network, spoke earlier Wednesday with co-owner Crystal O’Connor. Loesch asked O’Connor how the backlash to the family’s comments about the law had financially impacted them.
“I have absolutely no income coming in at all” without the pizzeria, O’Connor told Loesch.
Loesch then told O’Connor that her crew had set up a fundraiser for the pizzeria on the crowd-funding website GoFundMe.
“You’ve done nothing wrong here,” Loesch told O’Connor.
The fundraiser had netted almost $140,000 from more than 4,800 donors as of Thursday early afternoon. The page’s organizers had originally set a fundraising goal of $25,000 but increased that figure after the campaign took off.
“The intent was 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,” the GoFundMe page read. “Our goal was simply to help take one thing off this family’s plate as the strangers sought to destroy them.”