Candace Owens, a conservative commentator has had a fundraiser she set up suspended by GoFundMe after she posted a video saying that she does "not support George Floyd and the media depiction of him as a martyr for black America", according to the Daily Wire.
The fundraiser was set up for Parkside Cafe in Birmingham, Alabama, however trouble began after text messages were leaked between one of the owners of the cafe and two of the managers there wherein George Floyd was referred to as a "thug" and the protestors "idiots."
One of the text read, "We should go up one or two dollars on everything until June 10th. Call it a protest tax because all the idiots that went to the protest are responsible for us not being able to open normal hours. Any employees that went or are still going should resign. Mr. Floyd was a thug, didn’t deserve to die but honoring a thug is irresponsible."
Owens’ GoFundMe account was suspended after she had a “repeated pattern of inflammatory statements that spread hate, discrimination, intolerance and falsehoods against the black community at a time of profound national crisis.”
Owens, who is herself black, called the suspension “a blatant form of discrimination.”
The Parkside Cafe owner later said that he referred to Floyd as a "thug" after seeing a viral video made by Owen's where she highlights Floyd's criminal record. In the video she also criticizes the African-American community for "“demand[ing] support and justice for the people in our community that are up to no good.”
Parkside Cafe has since apologized for the remarks made in their private text conversation. The general public was still outraged by the leaked texts and that is what prompted Owens' to create the GoFundMe page for them, which she launched on Saturday, entitled, "Mob rule has no place in America."
The description of the fundraiser was as follows:
"This is the Parkside Café, a restaurant and bar in Birmingham, Alabama that is operated by a man named Michael Dykes. This week, Michael Dykes watched my video which garnered 100 million views in 42 hours, about the irresponsibility of the George Floyd protests and riots. Michael agreed with me and in frustration, wrote a private text to one of his colleagues about how destructive the protests were and how they are placing further burden on small business owners who are struggling to stay alive after the Coronavirus lockdowns — and now cannot open because of the riots. Michael also agreed with my sentiment that George Floyd did not deserve to die, but also, that he had a criminal record that was not worthy of the heroic characterizations the media is spinning today."
"An employee of his decided to leak these private text messages, quit her job, and has now encouraged a mob of people to boycott the Parkside cafe. Local media is adding further fuel to the condemnation aby (sic) demanding he answer for his private text message exchange."
"I AM SICK OF THE MOB RUINING PEOPLE’S LIVES. PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE DIFFERENT OPINIONS. The left specializes in mobs of hate and destruction. Let’s create a reciprocal movement of patriot love and support the Parkside cafe."
Within an hour of the page being launched it raised almost US $80,000 and that number had gone up to US $205,000 before GoFundMe shut down the page. There were approximately 6000 donors and the page had more than 85,000 shares.
GoFundMe released a statement on why they had made the decision to suspend Owen's fundraiser, it reads as follows:
"GoFundMe has suspended the account associated with Candace Owens and the GoFundMe campaign has been removed because of a repeated pattern of inflammatory statements that spread hate, discrimination, intolerance and falsehoods against the black community at a time of profound national crisis. These actions violate our terms of service. Furthermore, the Parkside Cafe has clearly condemned the comments that initially led to this campaign."
Although GoFundMe cancelled the fundraiser, they did however agree to give the money that had previously been donated to the Parkside Cafe.
Owens shared her frustrations with the fundraising organization via Twitter following the suspension of her campaign.
Later on, Owen's tweeted that her exchange with GoFundMe was indicative of a pattern of conservative voices being silenced by social media platforms and big tech.