Indiana's Memories Pizza had a quiet Yelp page until yesterday, when its co-owners said they support the state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Now hundreds are taking to the site to hammer the pizzeria with one-star reviews.
"Pizza served with a side order of BIGOT."
"If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no," Memories Pizza co-owner Crystal O'Connor told a local TV station, referring to SB 101, which comes into effect in July. (They said they would still serve gay customers who came inside the store.) "I do not think it's targeting gays. I don't think it's discrimination... It's supposed to help people that have a religious belief," she continued.
The people bombarding the business's Yelp page with one-star reviews would disagree. "Pizza served with a side order of BIGOT. And seriously, who caters pizza for a wedding?" one reads. Another says, "I look forward to the day when Memories Pizza is just that- a DISTANT LONELY MEMORY." The site currently has more than 1,700 reviews — nearly all negative ones posted since the interview aired, although some satirical five-star reviews are mixed in. Although Yelp has a filtering system, it doesn't appear to be catching many of the reviews, and Yelp may manually remove the reviews for violating its content guidelines, Ars Technica reports. According to Ars, a new domain mocking the business was also registered today.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was hit with major backlash this week after being signed into law by Governor Mike Pence, with critics saying it's a free pass to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Pence and others have been scrambling to change the law or pass new legislation that guarantees LGBT rights.