GRASS VALLEY — The power of social media shelved a Grass Valley fundraiser, which was scheduled for this Saturday.
The entire uproar began, from all things, with a tweet from former FBI Director James Comey.
“Once it got out there, especially on Twitter, it spread like a wildfire,” said Kathy Dotson.
Dotson and Wendy Willoughby co-produce the annual Blue Marble Jubilee held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. The event was supposed to raise around $25,000 for Grass Valley Charter School.
That was until conspiracy theorists made sure the fundraising event wouldn’t be happening this year.
“So, in this instance, they believed that this tweet by former FBI Director James Comey was actually a secret message and that they needed to decode that message,” Willoughby explained.
Comey was taking part in the “five jobs I’ve had” hashtag. In the tweet, the first letters of the five jobs Comey listed were pulled out to spell “GVCSF,” which some took to mean the Grass Valley Charter School Foundation.
From there, people on social media quickly latched onto the upcoming Jubilee.
“And felt that his secret message was telling his followers, James Comey this is, to target our festival and that something horrible was going to happen at our little, teeny, tiny festival up here in rural Northern California,” Willoughby said.
Nevermind that the information put out on social media was baseless. Thousands upon thousands became wrapped up in the conspiracy on several platforms and the Blue Marble Jubilee organizers felt it was just too much of a risk for the fundraiser to go on.
“These individuals who are putting fear into our communities, and I don’t want to see this happen again to any event, to a school or to another town,” Dotson said.
“To have these folks twist that and feel as though they are the ones doing good? I wish there was a way we could show them that all they did was push out hate and fear and division and heartbreak,” Willoughby said.
Although the event that was set for this Saturday has been canceled, you can still donate to the effort by clicking here.