- A Houston-based activist says Rep. Matt Gaetz helped her secure abortion funds after a back-and-forth on Twitter.
- Olivia Julianna responded to Gaetz after he said abortion rights activists looked like "a thumb."
- Julianna also helped get the hashtag #MattGaetzisProAbortion trending on Twitter.
Houston-based abortion rights activist Olivia Julianna decided to show her appreciation to Rep. Matt Gaetz on Tuesday night with a thank you card.
Why was the activist — who got into a Twitter feud with the Florida congressman — thanking him?
She says it's because their back-and-forth helped mobilize people to donate more than $100k to abortion funds.
"Your hateful comments toward me will quite literally help pay for abortion services," Julianna wrote on the card, posted to her Twitter, signing it: "Lol. Get rekt."
—Olivia Julianna 🗳 (@0liviajulianna) July 26, 2022
Julianna told Insider that as of Tuesday night, her organization, Gen-Z for Change, raised over $115K in abortion funds within a 24-hour period. The money will go towards the Gen-Z for Choice Abortion Fund, which splits donations raised among 50 different abortion funds in states with abortion bans.
"I am truly in awe of the amount of support that has come out of this," Julianna told Insider via email. "It is so extremely heartwarming to see the outpouring of support online and to know that the appalling attitude of Matt Gaetz has been turned into tangible support for abortion funds across the country."
The public spat between Julianna and Gaetz began after a video circulated of the GOP representative body-shaming abortion rights activists during his speech at the Turning Point USA summit in Florida on Saturday.
"Why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions?" Gaetz said. "Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb."
"These people are odious from the inside out," Gaetz added. "They're like 5'2", 350 pounds."
Julianna responded to Gaetz the next day on Twitter: "I'm actually 5'11". 6'4" in heels," Julianna wrote. "I wear them so the small men like you are reminded of your place."
Gaetz then replied to a Newsmax article covering his abortion comments on Saturday with a photo of Julianna. In return, Julianna told Gaetz that she was "a little too old" for the congressman.
—Olivia Julianna 🗳 (@0liviajulianna) July 25, 2022
Gaetz is currently the subject of a federal investigation focused on child-sex-trafficking allegations against him. A spokesperson for Gaetz denied the allegations to Insider in January and called them "false rumors."
Julianna told Insider that she felt that it was important to speak out against Gaetz's body-shaming comments because of her audience of young followers. She said she had struggled with eating disorders and body image issues her whole life, but is now in a better place.
"I am more than my appearance, even though I'm totally hot, and young people everywhere should know that being treated that way is unacceptable," Julianna told Insider.
Julianna's tweets have garnered tens of thousands of likes, and she began the hashtag #MattGaetzisProAbortion trending on Twitter. She said that as someone from the Gen Z generation, the internet is her "territory."
"We know how to use it," Julianna told Insider. "We know how to win when it comes to navigating social media and digital culture."
In response to the donations raised, a spokesperson for Gaetz told Insider that America was a "pro-life nation."
"With Roe v. Wade overturned, America is now a pro-life nation," the spokesperson said. "No amount of solicitations will change that."
Julianna also told Insider that Gaetz has not responded to her thank you card personally yet.
"My mother always taught me when I was growing up that I should never start a fight, but if someone else started one against me I should finish it," she said. "and although I have a feeling this fight is far from over— I'm certain Gaetz will not be the one winning it."