The owner of a pizzeria in Indiana said Wednesday he was surprised by the backlash online following comments he and his family made in support of the state’s much-discussed Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The O’Connor family, who owns Memories Pizza in Walkerton, told a local TV station Tuesday they wouldn’t cater a gay wedding.
“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” Crystal O’Connor, who described the business as a “Christian establishment,” told ABC57.
She added, “We’re not discriminating against anyone, that’s just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything.”
In reaction, hundreds took to the restaurant’s Yelp page and flooded it with negative comments, one-star ratings and photographs of scantily clad men.
“A true Christian would not act this way. Period,” read one of the more safe-for-work comments.
“Jesus dined with thieves and hookers. You really think He’s gonna worry if gay people eat your pizza?” read another.
Kevin O’Conner, Crystal’s father, said Wednesday he was surprised by this blowback. “To say the least,” he said, but did not want to be interviewed further at the time.
“I really don’t want to push it any further”, he told NBC News, adding that he was considering shuttering the business.
Meanwhile, an online fundraising page in support of Memories Pizza had raised nearly its entire goal of $25,000 in just three hours. The GoFundMe page was created by Lawrence Billy Jones III, who works as a contributor for the conservative news platform The Blaze.
The O’Connors spoke with The Blaze radio host Dana Loesch Wednesday and said they are considering leaving town after having received death threats.
Jones said the page “is about supporting this family, it’s about supporting freedom.”
“We had no idea that in two hours we were going to be able to raise $20,000 but, lo and behold, it’s happening,” he said, adding: “It gives me hope when I see people outpouring their support.”