Tx. Teen Helps Raise $275K for Abortion Fund After Being Body-Shamed by Rep. Matt Gaetz: 'You Creep'

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Abortion rights activist Olivia Julianna poses for a portrait in Houston, Texas
Abortion rights activist Olivia Julianna poses for a portrait in Houston, Texas

Callaghan OHare/getty

A Texas teenager who was body-shamed by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz has turned the viral moment into a fundraiser, using it as an opportunity to raise more than $275,000 for abortion rights in the last 48 hours.

Olivia Julianna, a 19-year-old activist who lives in Houston, had taken to Twitter to criticize Gaetz for comments he made at a recent right-wing conference, when he said, "Women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions?"

"Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb," Gaetz, who is 40, said at the Student Action Summit in Tampa. "These people are odious from the inside out. They're like 5′2", 350 pounds.'"

After Julianna criticized Gaetz on Twitter, the representative then shared her profile photo to his 1.6 million followers, adding the caption, "dander raised" to insinuate that Julianna had been angered by his remarks.

Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021
Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021

Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Rep. Matt Gaetz

Julianna says one of her friends alerted her to the situation via text.

"I was critical of him, and then he just tweeted out a picture of me to his Twitter," she tells PEOPLE. "I was shocked."

Julianna, however, was not upset.

"Anyone who knows me will tell you I am not or the faint of heart," she says. "Honestly, I laughed. I was like 'This is gonna be good.'"

So she used the exchange to boost the work she does for the activist group Gen-Z for Change, a non-profit is comprised of over 500 digital media creators who push for civic engagement.

Julianna shared Gaetz's post on her own Twitter account, writing: "In honor of Matt Gaetz publicly body shaming me, I'll be fundraising for the @genzforchange abortion fund. The Gen-Z for Choice fund splits donations across states where services are most needed."

The group's SAFER Initiative, launched after the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision led to the overturning of landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade, aims to protect abortion access was already trying to raise money for abortion funds. Since Gaetz's tweet, it's raised more than $275,000 — putting the total amount raised to a little over $300,000.

"People assume that because I'm a teenager that I am naive or sensitive [but] I fully saw this as an opportunity," she tells PEOPLE.

RELATED: Matt Gaetz Reportedly Investigated for Possible Trafficking of Teen Girl as He Says He Is Victim of Extortion

Asked if she has a message for the lawmaker, Julianna said it would be, "Something along the lines of, 'Why are you concerned with what a teenager looks like, you creep?'"

Gaetz is currently the subject of a grand jury investigation into whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid her to travel with him. News of the investigation into Gaetz first broke last March and, according to The New York Times, was opened in the final months of the Trump administration, under then-Attorney General Bill Barr.

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Gaetz has not been charged with any crime and has denied any wrongdoing, previously insisting to multiple news outlets that the overarching case was "rooted in an extortion effort" against him.

Gaetz was allegedly among those who asked the Trump White House for a pardon, according to several witnesses who testified in the Jan. 6 hearings.