It took it a while, but cancel culture has finally made it to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. In this case, the target is Kelly’s Gingernut Pub in Cape Charles.
I had a hard time believing it at first, but then readers sent in the social media posts.
The effort to dox and boycott the pub is being led by Jay Ford, who is the Virginia Voices Outreach Coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Quite a few of Mr. Ford’s Facebook friends apparently weighed in, but disturbingly for Northampton County, Janet Sturgis, At Large County Planning Commissioner, and Margaret Van Clief, the face of the Nature Conservancy here on the Eastern Shore, also voiced approval for boycotting Kelly’s.
Apparently what sent the boycott into action was a post the owner Gene Kelly put on his personal Facebook page. Mr. Kelly voiced concerns that many other Americans have voiced, including Charles Barkley and Mike Ditka. Essentially, fans are tired of sports being hijacked and poisoned by woke social justice warriors. The post has been taken down, but to paraphrase, Kelly stated, “Baseball is back. Can we not have any of this BLM BS and just play baseball?”
Seeing Kelly’s post, Ford went on the offensive, accusing Kelly of being a racist, and calling for an all-out boycott. Below are some of the things posted:
At this point, the Nature Conservancy’s Margaret Van Clief joins the fray, once again using the term “racist” freely:
Disclaimer: Before getting into Janet Sturgis’ involvement, it should be noted that this writer has known Gene Kelly for almost 20 years. My son practically grew up in the Kelly household and is referred to as their third son. I was there to witness how hard the Kelly’s worked to convert the old bank into the pub. I don’t think people realize what a monumental task that was. Since its opening, Kelly’s Gingernut Pub has been one of the most diverse small businesses on the Shore. Gene has never cared about skin color, only results.
One of the disturbing aspects of this is how a Northampton County Planning Commissioner could join and support the boycotting of a local mom and pop business:
Gene Kelly is not a racist. His only crime here is that he is a conservative, which is all it takes for the Woke Mob to come after him. These people also understand the timing is perfect–most mom and pops are barely staying afloat due to the coronavirus, so an organized boycott could be the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.
One of the biggest problems facing society is that everyone somehow feels they have a privileged view of the world, that they breathe rarefied air and hold the moral ground when in reality there are merely multiple points of view.
Using social media for the attack is extremely dangerous. Most people on social media have hundreds, sometimes thousands of connections. What Ford, Sturgis, and Van Clief have engaged in is 4G networked warfare. That is, assume Ford has several thousand ‘friends’ on Facebook. Each friend also has hundreds of friends, and so on.
Social network analysis (SNA) exposes the individual actors, people within the network and it ties or links relationships or interactions that connect them. How long before the message on the network reaches one of the not so peaceful groups?
Fighting for social justice, protesting, debating, activism, exercising 1st amendment rights are all great, and should be encouraged.
But there is a line, and these people have crossed it. Disagreement is one thing, but trying to destroy someone’s livelihood, their life’s work is unacceptable. Pooh, poohing the collateral damage that will happen to the pub staff is also unacceptable. Not unacceptable in a partisan or political way, but in a human decency way. And in the end, for what really?
Janet Sturgis should quietly resign her commission. If she does not, the Board of Supervisors needs to take appropriate action. If they do nothing and Sturgis is allowed to stay on, we have to assume that also approve of attacking Northampton’s small businesses.
Silence and inaction equal complicity.
As for CBF and The Nature Conservancy, the same applies. These groups receive millions of dollars from donors who assume they are partners, and are here to nurture coastal communities, not destroy them.
Silence and inaction equal complicity.