A Bay Area tech executive has launched a fundraiser in hopes of helping a Roy Moore accuser whose Alabama home was destroyed by a possible arsonist.
Katie Stanton has never met Tina Johnson, who has previously accused the former Alabama Senate candidate of sexual harassment, but the executive based out of Burlingame felt compelled to offer a helping hand after learning about the destructive blaze. Much to her amazement, Stanton's GoFundMe campaign has resulted in more than $150,000 raised for Johnson.
In the time since flames charred Johnson's home in Gadsden, Ala., local authorities have opened an arson investigation, but they do not believe there is a connection between Moore's campaign and the fire. No matter what comes along with the investigation, the damage has been done.
"Everything's gone," Johnson said. "We come out of there with clothes on our backs. Me, my grandson and my husband, we have nothing."
It was when Stanton came across images of the devastation on the news that she decided to do something.
"I looked online to see if there might be a GoFundMe page and I didn’t see one," Stanton said. "So I decided to set one up thinking that maybe I could raise a thousand dollars or so for her."
Stanton launched the fundraiser Friday afternoon and quickly witnessed scores of people chipping in with donations. By Sunday at 12 p.m., nearly 5,000 people had contributed $154,759.
"This touched a nerve," Stanton said. "I think we have all been moved by the Me Too movement and have all been moved by the bravery that so many women have demonstrated over the past year."
Despite Johnson's loss, Stanton, who was able to talk to Johnson after starting the GoFundMe campaign, believes the fundraiser acts as a bit of relief.
"When I first called her, she was in tears," Stanton said. "I think she was both overwhelmed by the grief of losing her home but also by the remarkable compassion that so many people have shown."
The money raised will go to help rebuild Johnson's home. Any extra funds will benefit local charities in Alabama.