The Indiana pizzeria that made national headlines after a local TV station aired an interview with an owner saying the business would not cater a hypothetical same-sex wedding has temporarily closed its doors -- but that doesn't mean the shop isn't swimming in dough.
A GoFundMe account set up by a talk show host on Glenn Beck's online and radio channel The Blaze has raised nearly a million dollars for Memories Pizza, the Walkerton, Ind.-based pizzeria and ice cream shop owned by father-daughter duo Kevin and Crystal O'Connor.
The small-town shop rocketed to national prominence when South Bend-based TV station WBND aired an interview with Crystal O'Connor Tuesday, where she stated her business's support for Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act and said the shop welcomed gay customers but would not cater a hypothetical same-sex wedding.
The hostile backlash to that interview saw the shop's rating on Yelp and Facebook plummet, as commenters slammed the shop for serving pizza and ice cream "with a side of bigotry."
The local station reports that an area high school coach was suspended after she tweeted what officials viewed as a death threat against the O'Connors, asking "Who's going to Walkerton IN to burn down #memoriespizza with me? Agree with #FreedomofReligion bill? 'That's a lifestyle they CHOOSE' Ignorant."
On Wednesday, O'Connor appeared on Beck's channel for an interview with right-wing activist and talk show host Dana Loesch, reports LGBT blog The New Civil Rights Movement. On the show, Loesch informed O'Connor that The Blaze had set up a GoFundMe account to support the O'Connors. At press time, that fund had collected more than $820,000 in two days.
At the time, O'Connor told Loesch that she had no idea when or if the shop would reopen. "We're in hiding, basically," O'Connor said.
It's unclear how or if the O'Connors will see the money raised, but by Thursday, Crystal was more sure of the future of Memories Pizza, judging by an interview on Fox News. O'Connor told host Neil Cavuto that she and her father will reopen the restaurant, though they are not sure when.
"I'm still shaken over this, and I'll be the one that's serving the customers and answering phones, and I'm not ready to face that yet, but it will be soon."
O'Connor reiterated her earlier assertions that gay people are welcome in the pizza shop, but the family-owned business draws the line at catering a same-sex wedding -- though there is no indication that any couples have made such a request.
"It is not a sin that we bring gays into our establishment and just serve them," said O'Connor. "It is a sin, though, if we condone -- if we cater their wedding. That, we feel we are participating, we are putting a stamp of approval on their wedding. And we cannot do that."
When Cavuto asked how O'Connor responds to allegations that the shop's policy is discriminatory, she took a moment before responding.
"It's not at all hateful," she said. "We show no hatred towards them. ... As we have to allow the way they believe, we just ask that they respect the way we believe."
Watch O'Connor's interview with Cavuto below.