Abortion-rights activist who was body-shamed by Matt Gaetz confronted him at SOTU address and thanked him for helping her raise $2 million

Olivia Julianna, left, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, right.
Olivia Julianna, left, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, right, in a composite image.Getty Images
  • Activist Olivia Julianna confronted Matt Gaetz at the Capitol during the State of the Union address.

  • She said she thanked him for helping her fundraise $2 million for abortion rights.

  • Julianna and Gaetz got into a Twitter spat last year after he body-shamed abortion-rights activists.

An abortion-rights activist who was body-shamed by Rep. Matt Gaetz said she confronted the congressman at Tuesday's State of the Union address and thanked him for helping her fundraise millions of dollars.

Olivia Julianna, a 20-year-old Houston-based activist for Gen Z for Change, was invited to the address by Democratic Rep. Nanette D. Barragán of California.

While in the US Capitol building, Julianna said she confronted Gaetz, the Republican lawmaker she credits with helping her raise millions for abortion funds, after he targeted her online.

"Just want everyone to know I just shook @mattgaetz hand and thanked him for helping me raise 2 million dollars," Julianna wrote on Twitter. "His response was to say 'heard you had trouble spending it.' And to quickly walk away in the opposite direction. What a loser lol," she added.

Julianna later said in a follow-up tweet that Gaetz had a "weak handshake."

Last July, Gaetz mocked abortion-rights activists in a speech at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Tampa, Florida. Gaetz made body-shaming jibes about activists who are "5-foot-2 and 350 pounds," adding: "Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb."

Julianna responded, saying: "I'm actually 5'11. 6'4 in heels. I wear them so the small men like you are reminded of your place."

The exchange went viral, prompting Gaetz to share a photo of Julianna with his followers.

Gaetz later doubled down on his comments, telling a reporter that women at pro-abortion rallies were ugly, while telling those who might find that offensive to "be offended."

At the time, Julianna told Insider that their back-and-forth on Twitter helped mobilize people to donate to abortion funds.

She said she was so grateful for putting the "spotlight" on her fundraising efforts that she sent Gaetz a tongue-in-cheek thank you card.


Julianna told Insider in August that she used the attention from the spat to fundraise more than $2 million for the Gen-Z for Choice Abortion Fund, which splits donations between 50 different abortion funds in states with abortion bans.

Gaetz strongly opposes abortion rights, and has an A+ rating from the Susan B. Anthony List — a ranking of lawmakers by the anti-abortion non-profit organization Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

Gaetz did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider