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Indiana Pizzeria at Center of ‘Religious Freedom’ Debate Raises $250,000 Online in One Day

Daniel Bean
Assistant Editor
Yahoo Tech

The scene at a protest of the Indiana religious freedom law. (Wochit)

UPDATE: After a full day of fundraising, the online crowdfunding campaign for Memories Pizza has raised more than $250,000.

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The Internet taketh away, and the Internet giveth.

Memories Pizza, a pizzeria that has found itself at the center of a gay rights debate in Indiana, is back in the news today, as an online fundraiser for the beleaguered ‘za joint has raised over $100,000 in under a day. On the fundraising site GoFundMe, a campaign started to “relieve the financial loss endured by the proprietors’ stand for faith” is closing in on $150,000 after about 18 hours online.

Just a day ago, things were looking grim for Memories Pizza: After its owners told an AP reporter that they would not cater a gay wedding due to their religious beliefs, the pizzeria’s Yelp page was slammed with explicit gay imagery and mocking reviews. The owners later said that they had received threatening phone calls as well, causing them to shut down for the time being.

PREVIOUSLY: An Angry Internet Descends on an Indiana Pizzeria over Religious Freedom Law

The fundraising campaign for Memories Pizza was launched by Lawrence B. Jones III, a contributor to conservative website The Blaze, on Wednesday afternoon to help cover “the cost of having the media parked out front… and no customers coming in.”

Jones also wrote on the “Support Memories Pizza” GoFundMe page that the family-owned pizzeria is in danger of never reopening, this according to a phone interview one of the owners had with The Blaze.

Though an early money goal was set to $25,000, support came in fast and the campaign eclipsed its new target of $100,000 in less than 17 hours, with more than 4,300 people having donated at time of writing.

Memories Pizza’s Yelp page was flooded by phony one-star reviews and images of nude men in an anti-homophobic protest Wednesday. A fake webpage – memoriespizza.com – was also set up, showing a homophobic pizza menu and phony quotes from the restaurant’s owners. The URL now directs to a simple text header “Don’t discriminate. (It’s not nice.)”

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