GoFundMe Campaign Raises $100K In Tips For Barista, Now ‘Karen’ Wants Half

L-R Lenin Gutierrez, Amber Lynn Gilles (screen captures)

The GoFundMe campaign for a San Diego-area Starbucks employee who asked a ‘Karen’ to wear a face mask has now surpassed more than $99,000. And the crunchy ‘Karen’ now wants half of the funds raised.

As I reported last week, yoga instructor Amber Lynn Gilles snapped a photo of the barista and posted it on Facebook in an attempt to shame him for following the safety guidelines of his employer and the state of California.

But the snarky post backfired on Gilles and has led to a $100K windfall for the beleaguered barista.

On June 18, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide order requiring face coverings in public spaces as new coronavirus cases began to rise dramatically in the Golden State.

But this ‘San Diego Karen’ was clearly not happy about the new public health rule.

“Meet lenen [sic] from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I’m not wearing a mask,” wrote Gilles in the accompanying caption. “Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption.”

Since last week, the post has been shared more than 50K times and received over 132K comments, overwhelmingly in support of the barista, Lenin.

“Listen, Karen, if you can’t be bothered to wear a f**king mask for 10 minutes out of consideration for *other people* AND because it’s store policy, then you’re not only rude, you’re incredibly selfish,” wrote one commenter. “News flash: everything isn’t about you.”

“There’s no reason to publicly shame a kid who’s trying to work his shift like any other day,” added another.

One person asked, “If you cannot wear a mask, why not go through the drive-through?”

For its part, Starbucks issued a statement asking all customers to follow the current guidelines regarding mask requirements.

“We want everyone to feel welcome in our stores. We respectfully request customers follow social distancing and safety protocols recommended by public health officials, including wearing a facial covering when visiting our stores,” a Starbucks spokesperson said.

Facebook user Matt Cowan saw the snarky post and decided to set up a GoFundMe page to collect tips for the Lenin.

“I set it at $1,000, thinking that was a reach, and we would be lucky if we hit like $250,” Cowan told local news station KGTV in San Diego last week. “And when we hit $100, I was overwhelmed by that,”

In one day, Cowan’s campaign – titled “Tips for Lenin Standing Up To A San Diego Karen” – had raised more than $5,000 for Lenin. Over the past week, tips continued to pour in, and as of this writing, the campaign had raised over $99,000 from 7,400+ donors. The majority of the contributions were in the amount of $5 or $10.

Lenin expressed his thanks in a Facebook video and shared his side of the story saying he was just following company policy when he asked Gilles if she had a face mask.

“Before I could say anything she flipped me off and said I don’t need one and she started cursing up a storm,” said Gutierrez on the video. “She started calling people sheep and she left and within a few minutes came back and she asked for my name and took a photo.”

Gutierrez also shared that, before the coronavirus health threat, he had taught dance to children.

“That’s all I really want to do — to just be able to show dance to others and show them how much I love it and how much it affected me,” he said. “And if I can show that to someone else, that would be amazing and change their life like it changed mine.”

In an update to the crowdfunding page, Cowan underscored that Lenin will be receiving 100% of the funds from the campaign. A financial adviser has been arranged to help Lenin “plan how to properly invest and use the large sum of money.”

“Lenin has said that he plans to use some of the money to pursue his dreams of becoming a dancer,” Cowan added. “He also wants to donate to some organizations in the San Diego community.”

In a video shared by local NBC News affiliate KNSD-TV, Gilles claimed she was “denied and discriminated against” in the incident, and says since her post went live she’s received ‘thousands’ of death threats. Gilles also admitted she is an anti-vaxxer and believes masks are ineffective.

“I didn’t harass anyone,” she says in the video. “I called them out because I’m frustrated.”

Gilles also says that she plans on suing Cowan for defamation and slander, AND she wants at least half the money raised through the GoFundMe campaign “because they’re using me to get it.”

(source: KNSD, GoFundMe)

Internet Tips Barista $20K After San Diego ‘Karen’ Gets Snarky Over Mask

Barista Lenin Gutierrez says ‘thank you’ (image via GoFundMe)

In this installment of the ‘Karen Chronicles,’ a San Diego woman recently took to Facebook to criticize a Starbucks barista named Lenin who refused to ask her to wear a face mask.

But the snarky post backfired and resulted in over 1,300 social media peeps donating over $20,000 in tips to a GoFundMe campaign in less than two days.

“Meet lenen [sic] from Starbucks who refused to serve me cause I’m not wearing a mask,” read the caption for the photo. “Next time I will wait for cops and bring a medical exemption.”

The post has been shared over 47,000 times and received over 133K comments which are overwhelmingly in support of young Lenin.

This probably isn’t what ‘Karen’ had in mind:

“Listen, Karen, if you can’t be bothered to wear a f**king mask for 10 minutes out of consideration for *other people* AND because it’s store policy, then you’re not only rude, you’re incredibly selfish,” wrote one commenter. “News flash: everything isn’t about you.”

“Being a Karen isn’t a medical exemption,” added another.

“You’re in the store for 10 minutes max to wait for coffee, not taking a trip to Mars for 6 months. If your condition is that bad then you are half dead already and should be having your coffee delivered to you in hospice!”

One person asked, “If you cannot wear a mask, why not go through the drive through?”

Another wrote, “Are you really crying cause you had to wear a mask for 10 minutes to get coffee then leave? Is it really that hard? Just wear the mask, get your coffee then take it off when you leave Karen, Jesus Christ.”

Several people noted that ‘Karen’ had shared many photos on Facebook in the past showing her wearing all kinds of masks – when she wanted to. “You wore all these masks,” wrote one poster.

The ‘Karen’ – who describes herself as a “mother, photographer, yoga instructor, activist, and artist” – tried to troll back, but failed in epic fashion. At one point, she could only muster a lame, “Masks are stupid and so are the people wearing them.”

Earlier in June, she had shared a meme that read, “I have a condition that prevents me from wearing a mask. It’s called intelligence.”

It’s worth noting that, during the coronavirus pandemic, face masks are mandated for everyone in California while in public unless they have a medical condition that prevents them from covering their face.

After internet sleuths identified the barista as Lenin Gutierrez, many expressed they wanted to tip Lenin for having to put up with the ‘Karen.’ And so, Matt Cowan decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $1,000.

Cowan told the local ABC News affiliate 10News, “I set it at $1,000 thinking that was a reach but we would be lucky if we hit like $250, and when we hit $100 I was overwhelmed by that.”

When the original goal was quickly reached, Cowan raised his target to $5,000, which was also surpassed in no time.

“You all are absolutely incredible,” wrote Cowan on the GoFundMe page. “Update from Lenin cause he wanted to say thank you to everyone. So you are all aware, he and I will be meeting in San Diego so that he can receive all the funds in person.”

Cowan also shared a photo of Lenin holding a sign which read, “Thank you everyone for the tips!!! Stay Safe.”

On Wednesday, Lenin posted a video message of thanks on his Facebook and shared his side of the incident.

Lenin says that when the woman came in without a mask, he asked if she had one, to which she replied that she doesn’t need one.

As he attempted to show her the official guidelines from Starbucks, she snapped back repeating she didn’t need a mask and began “cussing up a storm.”

“She started calling people ‘sheep’ and she left,” explained Gutierrez. “Within a few minutes she came back and asked for my name, she took a photo of me and said ‘I’m calling corporate’ and started cussing some more at everyone and just left.”

He added that he’s a dancer and before the coronavirus pandemic he’s shared his passion by teaching dance to children. He says he plans to use his sudden windfall to fund his dream of “changing other people’s lives the way dance changed mine.”

A Starbucks spokesman issued the following statement to News10:

We want everyone to feel welcome in our stores. We respectfully request customers follow social distancing and safety protocols recommended by public health officials, including wearing a facial covering when visiting our stores.

Internet Comes To The Rescue After Homophobic Parents Disown Gay College Student

Another college student, disowned by their parents for being LGBT, has been embraced and supported by the community.
Emily Scheck

Another college student, disowned by their parents for being LGBT, has been embraced and supported by the community.

Emily Scheck, a sophomore at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, found herself in dire straits when her mother found a picture of Scheck with her girlfriend.

The nightmare scene played out just about as badly as you could ever imagine.

According to NBC News, her mother reportedly called Scheck ‘disgusting’ and demanded that she attend so-called ‘conversion therapy’ to rid her of her same-sex attraction or face being cut out of her family’s life completely.

Soon after Scheck found her parents had removed the license plates from her car.

Scheck had paid for the car, but because her parents were paying for the insurance they had rescinded the payments. Her dad had driven to Buffalo and removed the license plates.

While there he had taken all of Scheck’s belongings from home in Rochester and stuffed them in her car.

She received a message that she was never to contact her parents or her siblings ever again.

Survival now became a very real, very difficult mountain to climb.

She had no meal plan at college, so eating was a daily challenge. She had just taken a vacation that her parents had agreed to pay for, but now reneged on that agreement, leaving her with a credit card bill from the trip.

She hadn’t purchased her books for the upcoming semester forcing her to borrow books from friends for classes.

All of this while she held down a part-time job at a grocery store as well as a work-study job at school.

Emily with girlfriend Justyna Wilkinson

And then there was the issue of tuition. It costs about $18,000 a semester at Canisius College, and her partial athletic scholarship for running track didn’t come close to covering the expenses.

Emily Scheck was in a very difficult position.

And then, her friend Grace Hausladen launched a GoFundMe campaign hoping to raise $5,000 to get Scheck through her immediate struggles.

That goal was quickly surpassed.

As Scheck’s plight went viral, so did the GoFundMe campaign. At this writing, over $100,000 has been raised by 2,573 people in 13 days for Scheck.

For a moment, though, the good news seemed tied to bad: NCAA rules didn’t allow for students to receive such funds.

Scheck was given an ultimatum: either return the money raised for food, shelter and college expenses or be forced to give up running track.

Clearly, survival was at the top of Scheck’s priorities and so she prepared herself to give up the sport she loved in order to survive.

Then, in a reversal, most probably due to the extremely bad press the story presented, the NCAA and Canisius College issued statements late last week saying Scheck could accept the donations and also retain her sports eligibility.

A spokesman at Canisius College released a statement on behalf of Scheck expressing her deep gratitude to everyone who had stepped in to help her at such a vulnerable time in her life.

“Thank you to everyone who showed their love and support in this difficult time,” the statement began. “The positive outreach has been unbelievable. I never expected this amount of support.”

“What has been given is more than anyone could have expected,” Scheck continued.

“With Thanksgiving coming up, I am grateful for everyone in my life who have continuously been there for me,” Scheck continued. “I now know that family is not always something you have, but something you find.”

Let’s hear it for the LGBTQ community and allies for coming together to help Scheck at such a critical time.

(h/t NBC News)

Reporter Yashar Ali Raises $175K For Waffle House Hero

Journalist Yashar Ali has raised over $175,000 for Waffle House shooting hero James Shaw Jr. in less than two days via GoFundMe.

Ali says he was moved to help Shaw, who has a 4-year-old daughter, after Shaw’s selfless takedown of the Waffle House shooter in Nashville, and his fundraising efforts for the shooting victims.

From the campaign:

James Shaw Jr. put his life on the line when he took on the gunman who killed four people at a Nashville area Waffle House. Since that horrific shooting, he has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the victims and shown a level of humility that has inspired many of us.

I normally don’t get involved directly in these matters, but James’ grace has inspired me to start this page to give him the support I feel he deserves.

According to news reports, James has a four-year-old daughter. Perhaps this money can be used for her college fund or some other education related expense. But I’d be just as happy if James used some of this money to take his family on a nice vacation.

Funds will be transferred directly to James Shaw Jr. through GoFundMe.

James Shaw Jr. is now reportedly paying for all four of the funerals of the shooting victims out of the GoFundMe campaign money.

To date, Donald Trump has not acknowledged the heroic actions of Shaw during the shooting.

McCabe Legal Defense Fund Raises Over $462K In One Day

Yesterday, I reported on the establishment of a legal defense fund via GoFundMe for former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who was fired less than 26 hours of reaching his retirement after a 20+ year career with the FBI.

The move was viewed by many as a punishment from the Trump administration for not “protecting” Donald Trump in the current investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

The “fair and balanced” folks at Fox News aren’t very happy:

Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser and retired three-star Army general, is on the brink of financial ruin, selling his Virginia home in order to pay his mounting legal bills.

Meanwhile, Andrew McCabe – the wealthy ex-FBI official fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions whose wife is a physician – raised an extraordinary $400,000 online from 10,000 people in one day to pay his lawyers.

Both Flynn and McCabe have been accused of lying. Only Flynn has been charged with a crime. But both are expected to continue racking up enormous legal fees in the months to come.

McCabe, who spent more than 20 years at the FBI, was fired earlier this month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the DOJ’s inspector general determined McCabe was not truthful during his review of the Clinton email investigation. The FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility recommended his firing.

Flynn was fired from the White House last year for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador and then pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

You’ll notice how Fox News colors the two men’s situations: McCabe was “not truthful” while Flynn “misled” Mike Pence.

Fox News also makes note that McCabe is “wealthy” but doesn’t mention that Mike Flynn is reportedly worth $7 million.

#FairAndBalancedMyAss

I think the results of McCabe’s legal fundraising shows a lot about who Americans believe and they are putting their money where their mouth is.

It also gives further credence to how fired up Americans are to oppose Donald Trump’s woeful administration.

At this writing, McCabe’s GoFundMe campaign has raised over $462,000 from almost 11,000 donors.

(h/t JoeMyGod)

UPDATED: Andrew McCabe Launches Legal Defense GoFundMe Campaign

UPDATE: In only five hours, the campaign has exceeded the original goal of $150K and so far raised over $217,000.

You think folks believe in this guy? Yep.

**************************************

Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe has launched a GoFundMe legal defense fund to help defray costs of expected congressional inquiries and investigations  in relation to his firing by Attorney General Jeff Sessions just 26 hours before becoming eligible for his pension after a 20+ years career with the FBI.

The campaign stipulates that all funds will only be used for legal defense fees and “any funds that remain in the Legal Defense Fund will be donated to charitable organizations.”

At this writing, the campaign has raised over $77,000 in 3 hours with a goal of $150K.

And yes, I donated.

More info at The Washington Post.

Trump Supporter’s Racist Rant Inspires $32K Gift For Store Manager

Trump supporter Jennifer Boyle

Here’s some holiday cheer to help you believe in the human race.

You’ll recall last week I wrote about a hideous woman at a Michael’s crafts store in Chicago – a self-identified “Trump supporter” – who went on an insane 45 minute rant on store employees and customers over having to pay $1 for shopping bag.

The woman, identified as Jennifer Boyle, verbally assaulted the manager of the store using labels like “animal” and a “lying piece of shit” the day before Thanksgiving. Ms. Boyle apparently has a history of verbally abusing employees of retail stores she frequents.

The manager, who handled the episode with seriously professional patience, has been identified only as Holli.

A customer who witnessed the verbal abuse, Jessie Grady, videoed the attack and uploaded it online.

In the aftermath of the horrible behavior by Boyle, Grady set up a GoFundMe campaign to try and honor Holli’s grace under fire, writing, “I am starting this gofundme because I’d like to do something to try to make it up to the employee who was the main target of this racist attack.”

Initially, Grady set a goal of $400 to do something nice for Holli.

Just to show you a good deed can be recognized, the total of the campaign has just passed $32,000!

According to Grady, Holli is working towards her Master’s degree in psychology so she could pursue her dream of becoming a professional guidance counselor. She also has currently has a second job knitting scarves and hats for homeless teens.

While keeping a low profile, Holli did post this message on the GoFundMe page:

I’ll start with this. I am in utter shock. You have all single handedly changed my life. Each of you have shown me that this world is worth living in. I have felt so misguided in a sense of why can’t I get passed where I am. I’ve tried to be kind, I’ve tried to be fair, I’ve tried to share regardless if I was able to. I want others to smile when I smile back at them. Knowing deeply we all have a higher purpose. How can I help!!

For some time now, I’ve felt this overwhelming sense of failure. I want to make a positive change in this world. I know what I’m here for and that’s to help others reach their higher potential. With your support I have been blessed with the opportunity to live and not just survive daily. I can properly provide for my family and meet all our children’s needs. I will now have the ability to get my business up and running in order to provide a better future for us. And I can still give back to my community even more now.

You have personally contributed to SO much more than you could possible know.

I ask that you please forgive me as I’m a little afraid to make a public video. Just know that from my soul to yours. You will be blessed for this act of unconditional kindness. I never thought my ginormous dreams would become a reality so soon and at the hand of others, but with your support I can now take the steps needed to build a better future. Because of you this dark world has a lot more light in it.
Not to preach at you or push spirituality at you. That being said I pray that you gain real fulfillment in your life. I don’t know you but I love you. It’s weird to some people but whatever, I believe we are one people so if I love myself therefore I love you. We’ve been taught that what we do unto others, we receive in return.

A great teacher of mine has said “All forms of pain, suffering, illness or financial chaos are there to promote spiritual growth and character change.” We are the change. You are this change. We stand together side by side in truth and know love trumps hate. Blessings to you may your light continue to break through the darkness.

Pulse Nightclub Shooting Survivors Say “Thank You”

The survivors of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando have released this video to say “thank you” for the incredible outpouring of support from around the world in the aftermath of the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States.

In addition to the messages and prayers sent their way, over $9 million has been raised via Equality Florida to help pay for the medical and psychological needs of the survivors and their families.

Those funds will begin to be distributed tomorrow.

From LGBTQ Nation:

The money raised by more than 120,000 donors from over 120 countries will be distributed starting Tuesday, said Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida. She noted 100 percent of the “funds will go to the survivors of those killed and those who were victims, whether they were physically injured or emotionally traumatized,” Smith tells LGBTQ Nation in an email.

Smith said her organization isn’t keeping any money for overhead or fees and that even the interest earned on the funds in the bank will be donated. Equality Florida is also absorbing more than $150,000 in staff time and management of the fundraising campaign.

“Checks are being cut directly to victims to spend according to their own needs which will vary a great deal. We know people lost income, some lost their jobs. Those with serious physical injuries will need to modify their homes and prepare for long-term care. All will need help dealing with the trauma. The decision on how best to spend it is entirely up to each person.”

“Equality Florida made two promises in the aftermath of Pulse,” Smith said in a statement. “The first was to do everything we could to take care of the survivors and the families left behind by this heinous act of hate. Today we’ve kept that first promise. Now our attention must focus entirely on fulfilling the second promise – to honor our dead with action.”

In addition to the video, Equality Florida has launched a new campaign, the Honor Them With Action fund, to ensure public work on behalf of the LGBTQ community and to reduce gun violence continues.

Orlando Shooting: Victims’ Fundraising Campaign Passes $3 Million Mark

Latest update from Equality Florida, who set up the campaign to help victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting, and their families:

We are beyond moved by the support from all corners of the world and all walks of life. From average Americans, large corporations, celebrities, musicians, artists, and political figures, over 65,000 donations have been made towards Equality Florida’s Pulse Victim Fund, totaling to $2.8 million dollars. We do not know the total costs for the victims of this horrific hate crime, therefore are working to raise as much as possible and disperse the funds as fast as possible.

We would like to inform all supporters that Go Fund Me has contributed $100,000 towards this campaign, essentially waiving their transaction fee and ensuring the every single penny donated will go towards supporting the victims and their families. We are so grateful for all of the support the Go Fund Me team has provided.

If you would like to donate any amount, large or small. click here.

GoFundMe Officially Clarifies Terms Of Use – No Fundraising For Violations Of The Law

When it was announced last week that the Oregon bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa was looking at fines of $135K for breaking public accommodation laws in regard to refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, anti-gay activists took to GoFundMe to collect money from strangers to pay the fine.

In a matter of hours, $114K was raised. But then GoFundMe pulled the campaign saying the site could not be used to support those charged with breaking the law.

Today, the crowd-sourcing site officially clarifies their terms of use:

Today we’re updating our terms to help address some confusion around how GoFundMe goes about reviewing campaigns and deciding what will be permitted on our platform.

Specifically, we would like to clarify that GoFundMe relies on information from law enforcement and government agencies to help determine what actions our team will take regarding questionable campaigns. We would also like to acknowledge that while we cannot conduct in-depth investigations on every campaign that is created, we do reserve the right to act on pertinent information as it becomes available to us.

GoFundMe will not allow campaigns that benefit individuals or groups facing formal charges or claims of serious violations of the law. The amended term can be found under the ‘What’s Not Allowed’ section of our terms, as well as below:

Campaigns in defense of formal charges or claims of heinous crimes, violent, hateful, sexual or discriminatory acts

We are also informing users that GoFundMe reserves the right to share the content from a deleted campaign with law enforcement, donors or stated beneficiaries who wish to file a police report about any misuse of fundraising proceeds. The added language can be found below:

By using GoFundMe, Users are representing and warranting that all donations received are being given and being used solely for the purpose(s) stated within the content of the User’s campaign. We reserve the right to provide information relating to your campaign with donors and beneficiaries of your campaign, and with law enforcement or to assist in any investigation.

Bolding is mine.

GoFundMe did announce last week that although the Sweet Cakes campaign came down, the donated funds up to that point would still go to the anti-gay bakers.