Latina Teen Body-Shamed by Rep. Gaetz Raises $700K for Abortion Funds

Jul 28, 2022
3:24 PM

Olivia Juliana, a queer Mexican-American activist from Texas, poses with a bouquet of flowers in a photo posted to Twitter with the caption: “I have the first bouquet waiting and ready to gift you! @mattgaetz.” Julianna raised $700,000 for abortion funds days after being body-shamed by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-FL. (Olivia Julianna/Twitter)

Olivia Julianna, a 19-year-old Mexican-American activist, has raised $700,000 for abortion funds days after being body-shamed by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Twitter.

“I would once again like to thank Matt Gaetz for giving me the opportunity to share this message and to grow my platform so that we can help people get the health care that they need,” Julianna told Latino Rebels. “If Rep. Gaetz would be willing to accept it, I would love to send him a bouquet of flowers, one for every $100,000 we’ve raised so far.”

The Texas teen used the attention to fundraise on behalf of Gen-Z for Change, a youth-led group that leverages social media to “promote civil discourse and political action.”

“It’s always disappointing when people fund murder,” Gaetz told Latino Rebels when asked about the amount of funds Julianna has raised from the attention he helped fuel.

When Latino Rebels shared Gaetz’s comment with Julianna, she said: “Matt Gaetz is concerned with funding for murder. I wish he had been a little bit more concerned about funding for baby formula. If he cares about children so much, why didn’t he vote to pass the bills that were put forward to help with baby formula supplies?”

Over the weekend, Gaetz made fat-phobic comments about abortion rights activists during his speech to a crowd of college students at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Tampa, Florida.

“Why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions?” Gaetz asked. “Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb. These people are odious from the inside out. They’re like 5′2″, 350 pounds.”

Julianna criticized Gaetz’s comments on Twitter while noting the sex-trafficking allegations against Gaetz.

“It’s come to my attention that Matt Gaetz —alleged pedophile— has said that it’s always the ‘odious.. 5’2 350 pound’ women that ‘nobody wants to impregnate’ who rally for abortion,” Julianna tweeted. “I’m actually 5’11. 6’4 in heels. I wear them so the small men like you are reminded of your place.”

Later that evening, Gaetz quote tweeted a news story that mentioned his comments from the rally with a picture of Julianna’s profile picture and wrote, “Dander raised…”

Gaetz’s tweet received hundreds of retweets and has provoked online attacks on Julianna.

“I have been I think improperly cast as having disparaged someone,” Gaetz told Latino Rebels.

Despite the online attacks, Julianna is happy with how she’s channeled the attention to raise over half a million dollars for the abortion rights movement.

“We’re turning hatred into health care, and regardless of what Matt Gaetz intentions were, what he did was still unprofessional and inappropriate for a sitting Congressman,” she told Latino Rebels. “I, at 19 years old, managed to turn this into one of the biggest fundraising boosts in, I would argue, recent history for a cause that’s so important.

“So yeah, just overall thanks, Matt Gaetz.”

Pablo Manríquez contributed to this reporting.


Chantal Vaca is a summer correspondent for Futuro Media based in New York City and a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism. Twitter: @VacaChantal