Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Indiana, has been under heavy criticism since the owners announced their support for the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has since been altered by Indiana lawmakers and Gov. Mike Pence (R) to prevent discrimination against the LGBT community.
The owners previously stated that they would not cater a gay wedding, due to their religious beliefs, but would welcome gays to eat in their restaurant.
After the comments from owner Crystal O’Donnell were made public, the family and business began to receive death threats and threats to burn down the pizzeria.
Due to the threats, Crystal’s father, Kevin, closed down his shop temporarily. He appeared on Fox News on Wednesday (Apr. 1) night to explain his decision.
“Because I don’t believe in something that they want, they see fit to be angry about it ... it’s just been ugly. I don’t know what to call it,” he said.
Crystal O’Connor later appeared in a television interview with Dana Loesch, who hosts a news program for Glenn Beck’s cable network, The Blaze. O’Connor explained that the money she was making from her job at the pizzeria was helping her start her own life.
“I just got an apartment and this was the income that could keep my apartment going,” she tearfully told Loesch.
Another reporter, Lawrence Billy Jones III, started a campaign on GoFundMe for people to donate money to the O’Connor family during this time. According to the Chicago Tribune, “by 7:35 Friday morning, more than $500,000 had been kicked in.”
Jones said that the original goal was to raise $25,000, but more and more people have apparently embraced the O’Connor views.
“Our goal was simply to help take one thing off this family’s plate as the strangers sought to destroy them. But other strangers came to the rescue and the total just keeps going up,” Jones wrote.
As of 2:30 p.m. Friday, the fundraiser bypassed $750,000.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Yelp.com, religiousnews.com