War of words on Face­book

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MIL­LI­CENT MCKAY

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.”

MacGre­gor

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