The astounding show of support for Memories Pizza has liberals besides themselves. Blaze TV reporter Lawrence Billy Jones III set up a GoFundMe page to benefit the shop’s owners, Crystal and Kevin O’Connor, with an initial goal of raising $25,000 “to relieve the financial loss endured by the proprietors’ stand for faith.“ Within three hours of the site going live on April 1, over $30,000 poured in; and within three days, the total crested over $840,000. However, not everyone has been happy to see the O’Connors financially rewarded for staying true to their Christian beliefs regarding gay marriage.
As reported by Western Journalism, the O’Connors had been forced to close their pizzeria following multiple death threats and harassment against their business. The Christian owners had simply told a local reporter that, while they would gladly serve anyone in their restaurant, they would not want to cater a gay wedding.
When the success of the fundraising campaign in support of the O’Connors became known, Blaze reporter Jones had liberal hatred directed against him too. The Washington Posts reports Jones saying: “We’ve had to increase security. They were sending death threats towards me and my mother. All of our hosts were getting threats. This stuff has really gotten ridiculous. Just from us responding and saying, ‘Let’s just create the account.’ The backlash has been unbelievable.”
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Jones sent a message to supporters Friday night that the donations were closed, with a grand total of $842,442 raised for Memories Pizza. There is little doubt, given how quickly the money was coming in, the site could have raised over $1 million within another day or so. Jones told the Post that they only stopped receiving donations because Blaze TV host Dana Loesch had announced a time limit on air. Over 29,000 people had stood in the gap for the pizzeria, giving donations ranging from $10 to $100 for the most part. The average donation was $29.
One liberal sought to discredit this genuine outpouring of support by claiming it was some sort of right wing conspiracy being funded by the Koch Brothers–but the numbers speak for themselves, at least when you do the math correctly. Kandyce Brothers took to Twitter writing that the account raised $840K with almost 30,000 donors. “Do the math,” Brothers exhorted; that would mean each gave “$29,000.” Brothers was only three decimal places off from the $29 average donation amount.
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Meanwhile, two GoFundMe accounts initiated as counter-campaigns to Memories Pizza’s success have failed to catch on in the same fashion. ChicksOnTheRight reports:
According to that sourcelink, one LGBT activist, Jason Nguyen, launched a counter-campaign called “Love Is Stronger Than Hate.” The goal is set at $1 million, (they obviously need to rake in more than Memories Pizza) and they need to reach that goal to prove that “efforts to advance civil rights can win more support than those seeking to curtail them.” He plans to give all the donations to the nonprofit Human Rights Campaign. “It’s now critical that the LGBT community and allies prove that discrimination against minorities has no place in modern society,” Nguyen said.
As of Monday morning, the campaign had only $570 in two days from 19 donors.
Another counter-campaign, which was set up for the cause of benefiting homeless lesbian, gay, and transgender youth has fared better. The #Pizza4Equality GoFundMe page states: “There is much disgust and consternation in the LGBT community over a viral fundraiser effort, that has as of this writing, earned $842,387.” The #Pizza4Equality organizer set a goal of $842.6k– i.e. slightly more than the amount raised to benefit the Memories Pizza owners. Since Friday, it has taken in approximately $60,000 from 1600 supporters.
The O’Connors have been overwhelmed by the financial and emotional support that they have received. Kevin O’Connor said: “Even without the money—that’s just a secondary thing. Just the kind words is what really built me back up. You’ve got to have money to live but it’s not important. We would have gotten by. I’m so grateful for that, but I’m just so grateful for the hands that helped hold us up.”
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Blaze TV host Dana Loesch, who brought the O’Connors’ story to the fore, said she has arranged for a financial planner to work with the family to help them manage their unexpected windfall.
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