Lady Gaga’s restaurateur father has taken down a crowdfunding campaign asking for donations to pay his New York staff during the coronavirus shutdown after facing fierce criticism online.
Joe Germanotta, 64, recently set up a GoFundMe page seeking $50,000 (£40,000) from the “community of neighbors, friends, family and fans” of his Italian eatery Joanne Trattoria, explaining the COVID-19 outbreak, which has forced restaurants to only offer take-out or delivery, has left his employees out of pocket.
According to Newsweek, the now-deleted fundraising page read: “Our amazing staff is made up of primarily hourly workers who depend on our payroll, and who overwhelmingly live paycheck to paycheck.
“As our doors remain closed longer than anticipated, our staff is finding it increasingly difficult to finance the daily necessities to keep them healthy, like groceries and insurance costs – to say nothing of rent, utilities, and other recurring bills…
“If you’ve enjoyed us in the past, have had a friendly encounter with someone on our incredible service staff, or even if you hope to enjoy us in the future, we’d be so appreciative if you would consider donating to our staff to help them through this difficult time.”
In a Twitter post, which has also since been removed, Germanotta added, “I’m doing the best I can but we had to close Joanne for the month. Our staff needs some help financial (sic). Any help for our employees will be appreciated.”
The appeal was met with outrage by many social media users, who insisted he shouldn’t be soliciting donations from the public when his Grammy and Oscar-winning daughter – who is an investor in Joanne Trattoria – could easily help him to cover the costs, as her 2019 earnings topped $39.5 million (£31.7 million), according to Forbes magazine estimates.
“To lady GaGa, really a go fund me page to pay workers for your Dad restaurant in NY, give me a Fringing Break (sic). How many millions are you worth, you could pay his employees out our your own d**n pockets (sic),” fumed one Twitter user, while another wrote, “some people have got a lot of nerve… his daughter is part owner of the place and worth $275m…..”
The negative response quickly prompted Germanotta to end the GoFundMe campaign and delete his tweet for financial help, although he has yet to comment on the backlash.
It’s the latest bad press for Germanotta – prior to the state-wide coronavirus limitations on restaurants and bars, he was ordered to close his ArtBird and Whiskey Bar in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal and move out after refusing to pay rent due to the station’s homeless problem.
He was accused of owing Metro-North bosses $260,000 (£209,000) in outstanding rent and fees.