GoFundMe has suspended a fundraiser established by conservative activist Candace Owens for a café co-owner who called the late George Floyd a “thug,” saying her campaign violated its policies on “intolerance of any kind.”
Owens had raised more than $200,000 for the Parkside Café in Birmingham, Ala., after co-owner Michael Dykes sparked backlash by insulting Floyd and calling the people protesting his death “idiots” in a text message to co-owner Robert Bagwell.
In a tweet Sunday, Owens shared an email from the platform saying it had been suspended for violating the company’s 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.” The funds Owen raised will still be distributed to the business.
“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,” a GoFundMe spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill.
The company added that the cafe itself has condemned Dykes’s comments.
“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 spokesperson said. “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, a longtime critic of the Black Lives Matter movement, has cited Floyd’s criminal record and called him a “horrible human being.”
President Trump retweeted a clip of Owens making similar comments in an interview with radio host Glenn Beck last week.
Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on the back of his neck despite Floyd’s protests that he was unable to breathe. Chauvin continued kneeling for several minutes after Floyd became nonresponsive.
Since then, protests over Floyd’s death have swept the nation, occurring continually in nearly every major U.S. city. Chauvin was initially charged with second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder before Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) upgraded the charge to second-degree murder, also charging three other officers present with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Updated at 10:46 a.m.