Rep. Ilhan Omar slammed Canadian journalists for their reporting about an Ottawa ice cream joint owner’s donation to the Freedom Convoy that led to the harassment of the woman.
The Minnesota Democrat responded to Ottawa Citizen/Sun’s Alison Mah, who tweeted about her outlet’s report about Stella Luna Gelato Café, which was forced to close amid threats after owner Tammy Giuliani’s donation, the Washington Examiner reported.
“I fail to see why any journalist felt the need to report on a shop owner making such a insignificant donation rather than to get them harassed. It’s unconscionable and journalists need to do better,” Omar said on Twitter late Wednesday.
Giuliani had reportedly made the donation through GiveSendGo, which has been used to fund the truckers protesting COVID-19 mandates across Canada.
But the site was hacked Sunday and the names of people who donated to the cause were revealed in a leak that was reported by several Canadian news outlets.
Giuliani, who was forced to close her shop Tuesday, expressed regrets for making a $250 donation on Feb. 5 to what she thought was a “peaceful, grassroots movement,” according to the Examiner.
“We got a call from the team saying, ‘We’re getting phone calls here,’” she told the Ottawa Citizen on Monday. “I said, ‘What’s going on?’ and they said, ‘They’re threatening to throw bricks through our window. They’re threatening to come and get us.’ We said, ‘Lock the door and we’ll find out what’s going on.’”
In the leaked GiveSendGo post, she wrote that she had initially donated $100 through GoFundMe, but asked for a refund when that account was frozen.
“Now I’m giving you $250 and taking food down to the truckers every day. Thank you for continuing to fight for Canadians across this country,” she reportedly wrote.
Giuliani told the outlet that “when a group of people first decided they were going to travel across the country to spread this message of solidarity, it seemed like a beacon of hope for small businesses like us.
“It’s no surprise that small businesses have been on the edge. Families are at risk of losing their livelihood. I’m a sucker for a grassroots cause,” she continued.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we anticipate what has transpired over the past couple of weeks. None of us anticipated what it turned into and we certainly don’t condone it,” said the businesswoman, who made her donation when police were describing the protest as “volatile and dangerous.”
“In retrospect it was bad judgment, but does that mean that people have a right to threaten our staff? Does it mean people have the right to threaten to throw bricks though our window and to threaten my family? We made a mistake. Who could have anticipated it?” she added.
Omar said she didn’t believe there was any “merit” to reporting on the leaked donors.
“I fully read the article multiple times and I still don’t believe there was merit to the story as reported other than further harassment. You all are entitled to your opinions, but my opinion remains the same. These kinds of stories ruin people’s lives and are uncalled for,” Omar wrote.
She also denied that she was “journalist bashing.”
“I wish journalists wrote the articles they think they are writing. Sorry to say it, but your stories aren’t always balanced and often have a clear political bias,” Omar wrote on Twitter.
“Calling it out isn’t harassment or journalist bashing. Everyone has a right to critique your story and it’s merits,” she wrote.
GiveSendGo, which was back online Tuesday, acknowledged in a statement Wednesday that it was hacked but said “no credit card information was leaked. No money was stolen.”
Notorious Canadian hacker Aubrey Cottle took credit for breaking into GiveSendGo in a TikTok video, the Examiner reported.
“Yes, I tossed the trucker. I hacked GiveSendGo, and I’d do it again. I’d do it a hundred times,” Cottle reportedly said. “I did it. I did it. Come at me. What are you going to do to me? I’m literally a famous f—– cyberterrorist, and you think that you can scare me?”
GiveSendGo founder Jacob Wells, who called for the FBI to investigate the hack, told Fox News Digital that “this seems well orchestrated. There’s strong political motivations behind this.
“This is illegal, and these people should be going to jail. The FBI, I mean, it’s surprising that we haven’t heard from any investigative services. We will be reaching out ourselves to just see that there’s some investigation into this. This is completely unacceptable,” he added, Fox News reported.
The Freedom Convoy has reportedly raised over $9.5 million on GiveSendGo, topping the nearly $9 million the protesters raised on GoFundMe before being kicked off the platform.