The Real Reason Candace Owens' GoFundMe Campaign Was Shut Down

Late May and early June 2020 have seen unprecedented activism in the United States, including protests joined by celebs like Kanye West in Chicago, Lana Del Rey in Los Angeles, and many others. While plenty of people are coming together in solidarity with the black community to say "Black Lives Matter" and creating GoFundMes for the black lives lost, others are also vocalizing their support for counter-movements, like All Live Matter, and creating GoFundMes for the businesses damaged during protests.

Amidst everything going on, conservative commentator and political activist Candace Owens, who has been vocally pro-Donald Trump and against the recent BLM protests, created her own GoFundMe. "It's heartbreaking to read what police officers are going through all across the country, at the expense of one idiot," Owens posted on Twitter on June 3, 2020. "Especially the New York Police Department who are being neglected by spineless politicians." 

In the days following, Owens also took a more active role by setting up a virtual fundraiser for a bar in Alabama, whose owner was discovered to have sent a controversial text message that seemingly aligned with her views. The whole situation didn't go as planned, though — here's what happened. 

Candace Owens was moved to create a fundraiser

Bar owner Michael Dykes' text message leaked, where he described protestors as "idiots" and called George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck, a "thug," per "We should go up one or two dollars on everything until June 10. Call it a protest tax because all the idiots that went to protest are responsible for us not being able to open normal hours," read Dykes' text, which he reportedly sent to an employee who has since quit. "Any employees that went or are still going should resign. Mr. Floyd was a thug, didn't deserve to die but honoring a thug is irresponsible." 

The message — which was circulated to the bar's managers, spread on Facebook, and later made the news — led Candace Owens to create a GoFundMe to support Dykes' business, the Parkside Cafe. "Business owner in Birmingham, Alabama is under attack because in a *private* text leaked by his employee— he agreed with the sentiments of a Candace Owens video. Left is calling for boycotts of his struggling business, so I created a fundraiser for him," Owens tweeted on June 6, 2020, linking to the fundraiser that has since been removed from the crowdfunding platform. 

According to a screenshot shared by Owens, GoFundMe took down her fundraiser for violating a rule prohibiting "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." 

Candace Owens is 'glad' the money will still be sent

By that point, Candace Owens had already raised $205,000 in just a few hours, according to what she said on Twitter. "At their discretion, they deemed that funds raised for a conservative business constitutes 'intolerance'," she tweeted about GoFundMe. "They WILL however give the funds raised thus far to the cafe..." 

According to the screenshot, GoFundMe will be working with Parkside Cafe, the bar in question, to deliver the funds that had been raised. And if any donor wants to recall their contribution, the crowdfunding site will also "immediately process that refund request." 

Owens was obviously not happy and took to Twitter to share her sentiments about the whole fiasco. "While I am glad they will give the funds raised this far to the cafe to the owner, I am angry that such a blatant form of discrimination is acceptable by @gofundme. There was NOTHING intolerant or violent about raising funds to help a conservative business owner," she shared a day after the campaign was taken down. 

She added to her reaction in a later post, saying, "Once again, conservatives and Trump supporters need to adapt to a world that tells us that our very existence is unacceptable. That our ideas, thoughts, and now even our charitable efforts are unacceptable. That threatening, boycotting, and cancelling us is okay." 

The bar owner was inspired by Candace Owens and called her 'amazing'

After bar owner Michael Dykes' comments went public, he shared an apology saying he was just venting to his colleagues. "I was just complaining about the situation," Dykes told local media group, "I'm angry that some of my friends own businesses downtown and they're boarded up. It just makes me angry. I just wish it would stop." He claimed that because his texts were meant only for his fellow managers to whom he sent it, the screenshot shared to the public had been taken out of context and misinterpreted. 

"I feel like I've been raked over the coals," Dykes said. "It was a heat-of-the-moment thing. I'm very frustrated, because it was way misconstrued. I was just mad. I didn't get the chance to explain myself... I think this has gotten blown way out of control."

He also added he that was inspired by a video shared by Candace Owens, who he described as "amazing." "I'm not a racist. I have many black friends. I have friends from Gambia and other places," Dykes went on. "Yes, I made a mistake and called Mr. Floyd a thug. I regret that. I really do regret that... I am sorry for what I said. I did not mean disrespect to Mr. Floyd, ever."