In just about a day, she helped raise approximately $115,000 for the nonprofit Gen Z for Change.
At a rally last weekend in Tampa, Gaetz had mocked abortion rights activists, calling them “disgusting” and overweight. Olivia Julianna, who uses her first and middle names publicly for privacy reasons, criticized the comments on Twitter, pointing to the sex trafficking allegations against Gaetz. In retaliation, Gaetz then tweeted an image of her alongside a news story citing his comments from the rally.
That Gaetz tweet has since been retweeted hundreds of times and has caused online attacks against the teen.
In response, Olivia Julianna announced a fundraising campaign on behalf of Gen Z for Change, a youth-led group of 500 people who say they want to bring about tangible change in “issues that disproportionately affect young people” and support abortion rights.
“This is absolutely the most insane amount of donations we’ve gotten from individuals to date, especially in such a short amount of time,” she said in an email. “On a wider scale, this highlights the extreme power of social media mobilization, and shows Republican politicians that their cheap attacks and political theater will no longer be tolerated.”
Gen Z influences the abortion debate – from TikTok
After his comments at the weekend meeting at the conservative Turning Point USA Student Action Summit were condemned, Gaetz was asked by a reporter whether he believed women attending abortion rights demonstrations were “ugly and overweight,” and he doubled down on his comments. When asked what he had to say to people offended by those comments, he said, “Be offended.”
Gaetz is an ally of former President Donald Trump and was first elected to Congress in 2016, representing a district in the Florida Panhandle, an area that has voted heavily Republican in recent decades. He has opposed abortion and abortion rights advocates, and this month voted against two bills to ensure access to abortion. In May, Gaetz was criticized for saying those protesting the overthrow of Roe v. Wade are “overeducated, under-loved millennials.”
“I’d like Matt Gaetz to know he picked the wrong activist” to start a fight with, Olivia Julianna said.
The donations will be distributed among 50 abortion funds, with the goal of broadening access to abortion services, birth control, contraceptives and other reproductive health services, she said.
Olivia Julianna grew up as a queer Latina in a small conservative rural Texas community. “For most of my life I have been mocked, ridiculed and harassed. I don’t tolerate that kind of behavior anymore,” she said.