Conservative activist Candace Owens has been suspended from GoFundMe after she launched a fundraiser on the website for an Alabama café whose owner criticized George Floyd.
Owens raised more than $200,000 for Birmingham’s Parkside Café over the course of the weekend, after co-owner Michael Dykes called Floyd a ‘thug’ on Friday, and also labelled protesters demonstrating against his death in Minneapolis Police custody last week as ‘idiots’.
Dykes’ comments were made in a text message to a co-worker that was later leaked on social media, prompting three employees to quit and sparking outrage online calling for the restaurant to be boycotted.
Owens has also come under fire for her own controversial comments about Floyd this week, describing him as a symbol of a ‘broken culture in black America today’, and said ‘the fact that he has been held up as a martyr sickens me’.
Those comments appear to have prompted GoFundMe to ban Owens from the platform on Sunday, accusing her of spreading ‘falsehoods against the black community’ in a ‘repeated pattern of inflammatory statements’.
After raising $205,000 in a few hours @gofundme decided to halt my campaign for the Parkside Cafe in Alabama. At their discretion, they deemed that funds raised for a conservative business constitutes “intolerance”— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) June 7, 2020
They WILL however give the funds raised thus far to the cafe… pic.twitter.com/Mfw88iDKRi
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,’ the fundraising platform said in a statement.
‘These actions violate our terms of service,’ the company added.
Owens’ fundraising campaign quickly gained traction after its launch Saturday, reportedly raising over $16,000 in the first four hours. By the time GoFundMe removed the campaign the following day, the total stood at $205,000.
In a series of tweets, the conservative pundit condemned GoFundMe for what she called a ‘blatant form of discrimination’ in their decision to remove the page. Owens added there was also ‘NOTHING intolerant or violent about raising funds to help a conservative business owner.
‘Once again, conservatives and Trump supporters need to adapt to a world that tells us that our very existence is unacceptable,’ she blasted. ‘That our ideas, thoughts, and now even our charitable efforts are unacceptable. That threatening, boycotting, and cancelling us is okay.’
If you would like read what I initially wrote in my campaign — absolutely NOTHING controversial, you can do so here. https://t.co/vAJaP54zdK— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) June 7, 2020
Owens decision to start the fundraiser was sparked when Dykes’ texts leaked online. In the messages, the business owner also advocated for a ‘protest tax’ at the bar and suggested employees who participated in demonstrations should resign.
‘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 protests are responsible for us not being able to open normal hours, Dykes wrote in the text. ‘Any employees that went or are going should resign. Mr. Floyd was a thug, didn’t deserve to die but honoring a thug is irresponsible.’
The café has since apologized for Dykes’ remarks. GoFundMe acknowledged that apology in its statement and insisted it would transfer the eatery the full sum raised by Owens at the time of the fundraiser’s cancellation.
George Floyd died in Minneapolis on Memorial Day after white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while arresting him for a suspected passing of a fake $20 bill.
His death has sparked passionate protests across the country, with demonstrators calling for police reform and an end to systemic racism.