KEY POINTS

  • The GoFundMe campaign was set up to help a cafe in Alabama and raised over $200,000 before being suspended
  • GoFundMe suspended the campaign after comments made by one of the cafe's owners attacking George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protest
  • The money raised will still go to the cafe, barring requests for refunds by previous donors

A GoFundMe campaign led by alt-right and pro-Trump activist Candace Owens to aid an Alabama cafe was suspended for violating the platform's "intolerance" policy. The campaign raised over $200,000 in less than one day to support the cafe's co-owner who criticized George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests in a series of texts.

Michael Dykes sent the texts to Robert Bagwell, co-owners of Parkside Cafe in Avondale, Alabama.

“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 said in the texts posted online by former employees. “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.”

Dykes comments were met with immediate backlash, including several employees resigning in protest and condemning the comments online.

“This is the owner of Parkside, this is the man I work for, Michael Dykes,” former Parkside Cafe employee Lacey King wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post. “Please someone give me a new job bc this man is the most hateful person I have ever met in my life. The evil texts I’ve received from him over the years are astonishing. This is just one example.”

In an email to Owens, GoFundMe said it suspended the campaign because it does not support "hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind."

GoFundMe followed up Owens' tweet with a public statement outlining the reason for suspending the campaign.

“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,” GoFundMe said in a public statement. “These actions violate our terms of service.”

GoFundMe contacted the cafe about the comments and said it would still receive the over $200,000 raised, barring requests by donors for refunds.

“GoFundMe will work with the Parkside Café's staff to facilitate the transfer of the funds raised on their behalf. It's important to remember that when money is raised on behalf of another individual or organization, the funds are safely held by our payment processor, and only transferred directly to the beneficiary of the campaign,” the statement read. “In this case, the money is safely held and will only be released to the Parkside Cafe. If a donor would like a refund, we will immediately process that refund request.”

Owens has faced backlash for her comments on Glenn Beck’s radio show. Along with criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement, she referred to Floyd as a “terrible human being” and pointed to his criminal record as proof.

"The fact that he has been held up as a martyr sickens me. George Floyd was not a good person. I don’t care who wants to spin that," Owens said on the show