An online fundraiser for Memories Pizza, the Walkerton, Indiana pizza place that was forced to temporarily close after a fierce backlash over their refusal to cater hypothetical gay weddings, has raised over $500,000, The Chicago Tribune is reporting.
Until this week, few people outside of Walkerton had ever heard of Memories Pizza, a northern Indiana pizzeria whose food wasn’t particularly… memorable (the business had exactly two Yelp reviews dated before the story broke).
However, on Tuesday, the restaurant became the first Indiana business to publicly confirm that it would not cater gay weddings – a stance that Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows them to take. The story was covered in this Inquisitr report.
The backlash against the family-owned business was swift and brutal: the pizzeria’s Yelp page was inundated with caustic reviews, obscene remarks, threats of violence and semi-pornographic pictures.
“Unless you’re ignorant, closed minded and think that being ‘christian’ [sic] leads to being superior, you can’t enjoy whatever mediocre pizza you’re serving up in Indiana. Too bad zero stars is not an option. Your pizza place serves terrible food by ignorant employees.”
In fact, the backlash was so fierce that the business was temporarily forced to close as the negative reviews were accompanied by protests, threats, and even police patrols. Just yesterday, the Inquisitr reported the news about one angry, out and proud Lesbian, high school golf coach who was suspended from her job and faces a possible criminal charge after she made a Facebook post asking people to join her to burn down Memories Pizza.
Co-owner Crystal O’Connor told The Blaze’s radio network that the loss of income could lead to her being homeless.
“I just got an apartment and this was the income that could keep my apartment going.”
Listener Lawrence Billy Jones III, described by the Tribune as a “reporter and activist,” wasn’t going to take the family’s plight lying down: he set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the business’s owners.
“Our goal was simply to help take one thing off this family’s plate as the strangers sought to destroy them.”
Beginning with an initial goal of raising $25,000 for the besieged family, the page quickly raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in a matter of hours, with some anonymous donors donating as much as $5,000.
“Thank you for helping us do some good for this family who were scared and in hiding just 24 hours before this writing.”
As of this post, the crowdfunding website set up for the Idiana pizzeria has raised over $677,000.