Video of a San Diego incident between a Starbucks barista and a customer who refused to wear a mask went viral and drove a GoFundMe campaign past $100,000 for the barista. Now, the maskless woman in the video is suing the creator of the GoFundMe page.
The man who created the GoFundMe page for Lenin Gutierrez, a barista, college student, and dance instructor, is now being sued by the Clairemont woman who berated Gutierrez simply for following COVID-19 safety protocols.
The defamation complaint was filed last week by Amber Lynn Gilles against Matt Cowan. She claims the use of her Facebook post in the GoFundMe page is a violation of her rights and a misappropriation of her name and image.
Michael Harrington is Gilles’ attorney. He tells NBC 7 that since the incident, his client has received hate mail, death threats and even lost out on job opportunities, and now she’s looking to get paid, just as the GoFundMe has paid Gutierrez.
“A monetary award is being sought and the amount has not been specified. We've opted to leave it unlimited and plead according to proof,” Harrington explained.
This isn't the first time Gilles has demanded money. In July of 2020, Gilles demanded half of Guitierrez's tips after the GoFundMe page went viral.
In a conversation with Gutierrez last month, he told NBC 7 he plans to use the money to fulfill his dream of studying dance.
Cowen recently launched another GoFundMe page called HELP I’m Being Sued By A Karen for Raising Money. Cowen plans to use the money to help pay for his defense.
Cowan said whatever happens, he hopes this suit or others like it won't stop people from doing good for others. So far, he’s halfway to his $30,000 goal.