Hell hath no fury like an angry Internet.
The owners of Memories Pizza were some of the first Indiana businesspeople to publicly support the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, according to a report by the Associated Press. While Crystal O’Connor, the pizzeria’s co-owner, told a local ABC-TV affiliate Tuesday that her family-owned pizzeria would serve a homosexual couple in the restaurant, she said they would not cater a gay wedding since it would be against her family’s Christian beliefs.
That story went viral, and those who disagreed with Memories Pizza’s stance on gay wedding catering took to the restaurant’s Yelp page. They overran it with joking one-star reviews and posted several graphic images featuring nude men and satirical Christian memes (link NSFW). A parody website filled with anti-homophobic content – memoriespizza.com – was also created Wednesday to protest the restaurant owner’s statement (also NSFW).
TMZ reported Wednesday afternoon that threatening phone calls and posts on social media have also forced the O’Connors to temporarily close their restaurant, until the furor dies down.
Interestingly, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman last week posted a blog condemning the new Indiana law.
"It is unconscionable to imagine that Yelp would create, maintain, or expand a significant business presence in any state that encouraged discrimination by businesses against our employees, or consumers at large,” he wrote. “I encourage states that are considering passing laws like the one rejected by Arizona or adopted by Indiana to reconsider and abandon these discriminatory actions.”