Indiana pizza shop refuses to cater gay weddings, instantly has internet presence destroyed

UPDATE: The owners of Memories Pizza in Indiana say they have been forced to close their business because of the threats and criticism they have received.

UPDATE: The owners of Memories Pizza say they have been forced to close their business because of the threats and criticism they have received. 

Crystal O’Connor, the co-owner of Memories Pizza, told ABC57 that it would not cater a same-sex wedding. (ABC57)

"I don't know if we will re-open, or if we can, if it's safe to re-open," Crystal O'Connor said on TheBlaze TV. "We're in hiding basically, staying in the house."

TheBlaze has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the O'Connors, which has surpassed its goal of raising $45,000. 

(Original article continues below.)

A pizza parlour that said it will use Indiana's heavily criticized new religious freedom law to deny services to same-sex couples provoked a massive backlash across the internet on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican, responded Tuesday to national outrage over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, by saying he'll "fix" the bill to ensure businesses cannot use the law to deny services to the LGBTQ community.

But, not before Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Ind., chimed in.

"If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no," owner Crystal O'Connor told ABC 57 News on Tuesday.

"We are a Christian establishment," she said of the family business. "We're not discriminating against anyone, that's just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything."

Organizers fire up a crowd of demonstrators gathered at the Indiana State Capital on Saturday to protest a new controversial religious freedom law. (Nate Chute/Reuters)

The O'Connors didn't stop there. 

"That lifestyle is something they choose. I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual," said Kevin O'Connor, Crystal's father.

The reaction on the web was quick and almost universally negative. 

Before they made the newscast Tuesday night, the restaurant run by the O'Connors had two reviews on Yelp. By Wednesday afternoon, it had 1,400 and counting – almost 35 pages worth.

"Pizza is universal and you have disgraced its glorious name with your bigotry," one post read. 

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence wants new legislation on his desk this week that would ensure businesses can't discriminate against gays and lesbians based on religious grounds. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

"I'm ANGRY and will never order pizza from these people again because they're simply not discriminatory enough! I mean, just 'gays'? What about anyone who works on Sundays?" joked another.

The hits just kept coming.

But, others supported the owners for standing up for their rights and their religious views. About three pages of the more than 30 pages of reviews supported the stance taken by the O'Connors. 

Not to mention the obvious question, do a lot of people serve pizza at their wedding?

The response on Google reviews was much the same. 

Someone also registered the domain name, which the owners of the establishment had not done yet, and filled it with some graphic, and phallic, visual criticism. 

The restaurant's Facebook page has been hit with a similar barrage of graphic imagery and angry comments.

The internet backlash comes after many companies and entertainers vowed to boycott Indiana as a result of the new legislation. Now it seems businesses that attempt to make use of the law may face boycotts of their own


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?