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Woman sues creator of a GoFundMe for Starbucks barista targeted in Facebook post

A woman who slammed a Starbucks barista for not serving her after she refused to wear a mask, is suing the creator of a GoFundMe page that has raised over $100,000 for the coffee chain’s employee. 

USA Today reported that Amber Gilles, a yoga instructor in California, is suing Matt Cowan, who created the GoFundMe in the summer of 2020 for an undisclosed amount of money, according to Gilles’s lawyer Michael Harrington. 

Gilles is suing Cowan for “violation of her right to publicity,” “misappropriation of her name and likeness” and “false light invasion of privacy.” 

Cowan made the GoFundMe for Starbucks employee Lenin Gutierrez after Gilles slammed the employee on Facebook and complained he would not serve her without a mask on. 

California had a statewide mask mandate in place, but Gilles claimed in the now-deleted post that she had a medical exemption.

“All the money that was raised went to Lenin. I didn’t profit off of that at all,” Cowan told The Hill.

The news of the lawsuit comes after Gilles already threatened to sue and asked Cowan for half of the money raised from the GoFundMe last summer.  Cowan told USA Today he wasn’t surprised by the lawsuit.

Cowan and Gutierrez have spoken about the lawsuit and Gutierrez “apologized” for it, according to Cowan.

“Lenin is probably one of the most humble people I have ever met,” he said.

Cowan has already raised over $17,000 to cover the legal fees for this lawsuit.

Gilles started a counter GoFundMe last summer after she said she was harassed online and raised a little over $5,000, $3,000 short of the fundraiser’s goal of $8,000, according to USA Today.

Gutierrez has set aside the money that Cowan gave him from the GoFundMe and put it in a savings account for college, Cowan said.

—Updated at 3:14 p.m.

Tags California coronavirus masks GoFundMe Starbucks
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