Grants business owner apologizes for offensive image on GoFundMe page

Coronavirus New Mexico

GRANTS, N.M. (KRQE) -A New Mexico pawn shop owner fined for keeping her business open last week claims she didn’t know about a GoFundMe page, taking aim at the governor. The owner says she had no part in creating the page and does not agree with the attack on the governor.

It’s yet another problem from Diane Rowe, the owner of Papa’s Pawn and Gun in Grants. “I tried to explain to the officer why we were doing what we were doing, and why we were supposed to be considered essential. He did not care,” Rowe says.

Last week, Rowe was fined $60,000 for keeping the store running before the governor allowed non-essential businesses to operate curbside. Since then, Rowe’s received backlash, but also support.

Someone even created a GoFundMe page to help her raise money to help pay the hefty fine. “It would be devastating to any business that’s not a big box store,” said Rowe.

A closer look at the GoFundMe page shows what appears to be an altered image of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham wearing what looks like a Nazi uniform, with the New Mexico Zia symbol on her arm. Right next to the photo is the storefront of Papa’s Pawn.

Rowe says she was not behind the photo and by no means does it reflect her beliefs or business. “I personally would like to apologize to the Jewish community for that being put up next to our business logo,” she says.

The woman who started the GoFundMe page did not want to interview with KRQE News 13 but posted a long statement on Facebook. In part, she says she was trying to support Papa’s Pawn and apologized after being told it was offensive.

Later, she changed her tone claiming the photo was shared all over social media and she hasn’t seen anyone get offended by it. Rowe, made it clear, she disagrees.

“I understand that it’s inflammatory and hurtful. We do need to be super mindful of people’s feelings,” she says.

A rabbi with the Jewish Federation of New Mexico did provide KRQE News 13 with a statement:

I would like to offer this statement on the record: While people will disagree about how to balance the necessity for mandated public health standards during COVID-19 and the serious impact these measures have upon small business and the economy, the utilizing of images suggesting any connection to the Nazi regime as a form of political rhetoric only inflames people across our community. Using such images creates a false and offensive moral equivalency by suggesting that the extreme atrocities committed by the Nazis against 6 million Jews and 6 million others is in any way related to our Governor and public policy during the COVID-19 crisis. We in the Jewish community encourage everyone to avoid inflammatory rhetoric at a time when we need to work together and promote safety and empathy for all those impacted by COVID-19 throughout our New Mexico community.”

– Rabbi Dr. Robert B. Lennick

The photo on the GoFundMe page has since been changed to an American flag.

We have also reached out to the Governor’s Office, but have yet to hear back.


New Mexico Coronavirus Resources

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