Like many restaurants on the Upper West Side and throughout New York City, Joanne Trattoria has had to temporarily close amid the coronavirus crisis. And like many restaurant owners who’ve launched GoFundMe campaigns, so too has Joseph Germanotta, Joanne Trattoria’s owner. Germanotta is also the father of Lady Gaga, who is part-owner of the restaurant.
The fundraising campaign’s purpose was to pay the temporarily laid off staff of about 30 employees.
According to Newsweek, the original campaign (which has been deactivated) 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.” It then called on the community and “fans” to take action.“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,”
But many have criticized Germanotta for asking the public for money, since his daughter is worth an estimated $275 million.
Some defended Germanotta, arguing that his daughter shouldn’t be held responsible. But the issue isn’t simply that she should cover the expenses since she’s loaded. It’s that she’s invested in the restaurant.
According to Page Six, Lady Gaga was stunned at her dad’s request for funds from the community. A source told the website that Gaga was unaware of the campaign, and that both her and her mom, Cynthia, would have shut down the idea if they knew anything about it. “She had no idea he was doing that and that idea would have been shot down before he even finished bringing it up — and the worst part is, it’s her birthday! Neither she nor [mom] Cynthia would ever let that happen. It was him acting on his own, unfortunately, really bad impulse.”
One public criticism included a Tweet from Laura Lyne, who, according to her profile, is an avid Lady Gaga fan. She responded to Germanotta’s now deleted Tweet for help with “You’re asking people that are more than likely worse off than you to pay for your staff. Come on, you can afford to pay them.” This quote was then referenced in several write-ups about the campaign, including those by eonline.com and Page Six.
The GoFundMe campaign for Joanne Trattoria was deactivated after raising $541 out of the $50,000 fundraising goal.
Featured images c/o Flickr user Justin Higuchi