GoFundMe slammed the door on a fund-raising campaign launched by conservative activist Candace Owens.
Fundraising platform GoFundMe censored Owens, a founder of the Blexit movement that encourages blacks to exit the Democratic Party, after she attempted to raise money for the beleaguered Parkside Cafe in Birmingham, Alabama.
Parkside Cafe co-owner Michael Dykes acknowledged sending a private text message to colleagues suggesting that the café temporarily raise their prices, according to AL.com. The café was not “able to open normal hours” due to the ongoing riots. In the text, he reportedly called the protestors “idiots” and suggested that employees who were protesting “should resign.” Dykes, according to AL.com, said that Floyd “was a thug, didn’t deserve to die but honoring a thug is irresponsible.”
Dykes explained to AL.com that he was “angry” when he sent the text, and that “he considered the text a private communication.” When asked what he would tell the city if he could, he reportedly stated:
“I’m sorry I let everybody down. I really am. I never intended any harm. Everybody is welcome at Parkside, no matter what your skin color and politics are. I did not ever want to cause any disrespect for Mr. Floyd. I would like to apologize to the Floyd family and anybody else I offended.”
The private text message, “which was circulated to other employees at the bar,” was shared on social media by an employee who did resign after receiving it, reported Al.com. “[Lacey] King took down her post later that day and thanked Facebook friends for their support.”.
But with boycott threats circulating after screenshots of the post went viral, Owens found out that Dykes’s message was inspired by her video. She decided to launch a GoFundMe campaign to help the café.
In a tweet about the incident, Owens provided a screenshot that showed a notice from GoFundMe. The GoFundMe notice explained that the platform found her fundraiser to violate its “prohibition on ‘user content that we deem, in our sole discretion, to be in support of hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind.’”
Owens noted that more than $205,000 was raised before GoFundMe censored the campaign. In her tweet, she noted that despite the censorship, “[GoFundMe] will however give the funds raised thus far to the cafe… .”
GoFundMe issued the following statement concerning Owens’s account, according to AL.com:
"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.”
GoFundMe is the latest platform to censor Owens. She was previously suspended by Twitter for encouraging people to stand up against the COVID-19 lockdown order in Michigan by opening their businesses and going back to work. She also was suspended by Facebook for saying that “[w]hite supremacy is not a threat. Liberal supremacy is.”