GRASS VALLEY, Calif. — The power of social media shelved a school fundraiser in Grass Valley, California, scheduled for this Saturday.
The entire uproar began with a tweet from former FBI Director James Comey.
“Ugh. It’s heartbreaking, absolutely devastating,” said Fundraiser Organizer Wendy Willoughby.
Wendy Willoughby and Kathy Dotson co-produce the annual Blue Marble Jubilee held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, an event that was supposed to raise about $25,000 Saturday for Grass Valley Charter School.
That was until the conspiracy theory spread through the school.
“So, in this instance they believed this tweet by former FBI Director James Comey was actually a secret message, and they needed to de-code that message,” Willoughby said.
Comey was taking part in the social media trend, #FiveJobsIveHad.
In the tweet, the first letters of the five jobs Comey posted spell out G-V-C-S-F, which some took to mean the Grass Valley Charter School Foundation.
And from there, some on social media quickly latched on to the upcoming jubilee.
“And felt that his secret message was telling his followers … that something horrible was going to happen at our little, tiny-tiny festival in rural Northern California,” Willoughby said.
Even thought the information put out on social media was baseless, thousands upon thousands became engaged on several platforms, and the Blue Marble Jubilee organizers felt it was just too much of a risk for the fundraiser to go on.
“To have these folks twist that and make it as though they are the one’s 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.