Julie Baker, the woman who claimed to find an antigay note by a neighbor complaining her yard is "relentlessly gay," will return the $43,000 she raised through a GoFundMe campaign. Baker started the fundraiser saying she wanted to decorate her home with more rainbow adornments.
As The Advocate previously reported, Baker said in June she found on her door, and posted it online. "Your yard is becoming Relentlessly Gay!" the note said. "Myself and Others in the neighborhood ask that you Tone It Down. This is a Christian area and there are Children. Keep it up and I will be Forced to call the Police on You! Your kind need to have Respect for GOD."
Writing on the GoFundMe page, Baker said she was raising the money to "make my home even more 'relentlessly gay'."
I opened my door, and found a note from my neighbor. Regarding a set of rainbow jar solar lights hanging in my yard that spell out "Love" and "Ohana". They informed me that the neighborhood is "christian" and has "children" and asked me to stop being "relentlessly gay"...
Needless to say... I need more rainbows... Many, many more rainbows...
So, I am starting this fundraiser so I can work to make my Home even More "relentlessly gay" If we go high enough, I will see if I can get a Rainbow Roof!
Because my invisible relentlessly gay rainbow dragon should live up there in style!
Put simply, I am a widow and the mother of four children, my youngest in high school and I WILL NOT Relent to Hatred. Instead, I will battle it with whimsy and beauty and laughter and love, wrapped around my home, yard and family!!!
Thanks for your relentlessly gay support!
Questions quickly arose when her post went viral after being shared on major LGBT websites and on Facebook by celebrity George Takei. Critics noted that the note and the GoFundMe page both included notably strange capitalization usage. She shut down the fundraiser on June 22 saying she previously didn't know how to turn it off and ignoring all of the suspicion. Baker's campaign raised an addtitional $38,000 above the $5,000 she originally sought.
The Baltimore police department investigated Baker's claim. While Baker claimed that the police were satisfied her story was true, the hoax-exposing website Snopes spoke to a detective and reported that Baker had refused to turn over the note to police or assist in the investigation.
"The case, which is classified as [a] suspicious condition, remains [open] while detectives investigate what happened," Cpl. John Wachter of the Baltimore County Police Department told Snopes. The results of the investigation were never revealed.
Baker did not add any more rainbow decorations to her yard. She did not say when the money will actually be returned.
Baker's update posted August 19, reads:
A few months ago a fearful and ignorant act set off an avalanche. The avalanche was a thing of beauty, of support and of love. The snow kicked up into the sun and created a crystalline rainbow. Avalanches are relentless in their movement and breathtaking as they rumble down to the earth, shaking the ground. While thousands donated and thousands more offered support, the truth is that this project went from an artistic snow ball tossed in the face of hate to an avalanche. To deal with the debris, which includes taxes and an overabundance of resources it is with a saddened heart that all donations will be returned. If a time machine were available, it would have all ended at the original requested amount. It was never about the money but being happy in the face of intolerance. Do not for an instant think the support of spirit, art, love and monetary donations were for naught. A statement was heard across the globe, loud and clear was our avalanche. I ask you to take your donations back and give to local artists or educational nonprofit organizations.