Conservatives Pick A Fight With Local TV Station Over Anti-Gay Pizza Shop Money

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A fundraiser for the Indiana pizzeria forced to close down this week amid widespread backlash against its owners’ beliefs about homosexuality became a major source of drama by the time it passed the $750,000 mark.

Concerns about the fundraiser’s legitimacy pitted Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze TV network against a Virginia TV station in a bizarre spat that played out Friday on Twitter.

The crew behind “Dana,” a show on TheBlaze TV hosted by conservative commentator Dana Loesch, set up the fundraiser Wednesday on behalf of the O’Connor family, which owns Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Ind. The fundraiser began with the modest goal of crowd-funding $25,000.

But as donations rolled in at a steady clip, critics of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the O’Connor family’s religious opposition to same-sex marriage criticized the effort. One of those critics was twitter user @alixbryan, whose Twitter bio indicates that she works for Richmond, Va. TV station WTVR.

Bryan tweeted that she’d reported the fundraiser for fraud on Wednesday. But Bryan’s tweets apparently didn’t come across Loesch’s radar until Friday afternoon.

That’s when TheBlaze TV host demanded an explanation from WTVR and Bryan:

Loesch went on to share screenshots of what she said was an email exchange between herself, her crew and WTVR’s general manager about the alleged false fraud report:

A contributor to Loesch’s program, Lawrence B. Jones III, appeared later Friday on “CNN Newsroom” to clarify both the intention of the fundraiser and where the funds were expected to go.

“One of the things that our show really wanted to do is make sure that they could handle some debt as well as repair the shop and do whatever they needed to do,” he told host Brooke Baldwin. “There’s been some graffiti and things like that. As well as if they needed to do some repairs or take care of some personal things ever since this happened.”

Jones added that TheBlaze TV set the family up with a financial adviser who would meet with them next week on a pro bono basis.

“I want to be clear that TheBlaze, as well as the ‘Dana’ show, is not getting any of those funds,” Jones told Baldwin. “This is all going to the family.”

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