War of words on Facebook
A Summerside business owner is facing an online backlash to comments he posted on Facebook.
The digital war of words started when Paul MacGregor, owner of Skip’s Fish ‘n’ Chips, commented on an online CBC news article about the painting of the rainbow-coloured sidewalks in Charlottetown.
The rainbow is commonly used as an LGBTQ symbol.
“This is offensive to many tourists who come here to escape this leftist agenda. You will never hear them say so, because if they do, the bullies will take them to court,” MacGregor said in his July 17 post.
From there, a storm of comments rolled in with locals and others giving good and bad reviews on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Over time, the attention the business was getting drew comments from followers of other groups agreeing or disagreeing with MacGregor.
An earlier, unrelated comment taken from MacGregor’s Facebook page also began to circulate online.
“It was a conversation between myself and a fellow believer where I said that, ‘just as in the days of Noah. God’s judgment is coming, and when it does, it will be swift, harsh and total,’ ” he explained in an interview Thursday.
He added, “My comments on the rainbow crosswalk were meant to expose the hypocrisy of the politicians who claim it symbolizes inclusiveness.
“It doesn’t include many groups who find it offensive, such as born again believers like myself, as well as many U.S. tourists, not to mention our own Amish and Muslim communities. Leaving the paint white shows neutrality and genuine inclusiveness.”
MacGregor says he regrets that his children have become subject to “vile gossip and hateful messages for his sake,” but he does not regret his comment.
He says he hopes the response won’t deter tourists from coming to the establishment.
Summerside resident Dan Kutcher also posted on Facebook after following the progress of the social media exchange. His post, which Kutcher said did not represent the Summerside Chamber of Commerce, of which he is president, called for the local businessman to shut down the Facebook page because the comments had surpassed giving reviews of the restaurant but had become about attacking one another.
“We all need to be active and take responsibility to push hate out of our community,” he reiterated to the Journal Pioneer, Thursday.
Kutcher’s Facebook post said, “What is now taking place on the business’ reviews page is horrible. There is an army of hate coming from beyond our community. The hatred is disturbing. It is scary. It is out there, but it’s not reflective of our community here, on the ground, in real life.
“The hate is growing and people (many don’t actually post their real names) are verbally attacking good people, good neighbours, our neighbours.
“One of our greatest strengths around here is our tolerance and ability to see the good in people. We may not always agree with them, but we don’t hate. We criticize. We disagree. But we have to draw a line. Our tolerance must have a line.”