The PEI pub removed photos of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from its social media accounts after receiving a flurry of hate-filled comments and phone calls.
Trudeau dined at Lone Oak’s Charlottetown pub during a short stop on the island last week.
At the pub, owners, staff and patrons took pictures with the prime minister. The pub later posted these photos on their social media.
Jared Murphy, co-owner and CEO of Lone Oak Brewing Company, said they were delighted to host the prime minister at the pub, which only opened in mid-May.
“We had thousands of comments”
Three of the four PEI Liberal MPs, including Charlottetown MP Sean Casey, Malpeque MP Heath MacDonald and Cardigan MP Lawrence McAulay, were also in the pub and appeared in some of the photos with the prime minister.
“So within hours we’ve had thousands of comments, we’ve received hundreds of private messages, now we’re getting phone calls to the brewery, and all of those comments are extremely negative, vulgar, a lot of profanity is used, the sexualization of our staff,” Murphy said in a statement. interview near the pub.
“Seeing a group of individuals who have never even visited our establishment, taking a political position, threatening our brewery, saying that they are going to destroy us, that they will wait until we declare bankruptcy until they are done with us, our it was very hard for the employees to see it,” he said.
In addition to social media comments, personal messages and phone calls, photos of the three Lone Oak owners appeared on a national website calling for alleged Trudeau supporters.
“It certainly seemed to backfire”
Casey called the campaign against Lone Oak “grossly unsuccessful”. He said he contacted the Prime Minister’s office and was told that this has happened in other parts of Canada, but this is the first time this has happened in Atlantic Canada.
A Charlottetown MP invited Trudeau to dine at a pub.
“I feel bad that owners go through this,” Casey said.
“Even if I considered the disadvantages, I would still recommend them. I think it’s a great honor when someone from public life comes in and that’s a good profile for business,” he said.
“This has of course backfired to a certain extent, but I am sure that the islanders will rally around this business and that most of the people who suggest this abuse are not from here.”
Malpeque MP Heath Macdonald said the purpose of the prime minister’s visit to the pub was to help small businesses.
MacDonald blamed “right-wing extremism” for the campaign against the PEI pub.
“This is a new business, three young guys are trying to succeed in it,” McDonald said.
“There was nothing political about it, it was a visit to a restaurant and an opportunity to show yourself to the prime minister.”
Back at the pub, Murphy said the negative comments had not yet had a major impact on his business. He said a handful of people who say they supported the pub in the past told him they would not be returning.
But he is concerned about an online campaign to downgrade his pub.
“It’s somehow illogical”
Since the launch of this online campaign against Lone Oak, the pub’s rating has dropped from 4.8 out of 5 to 2.8.
“And that could have a negative impact on our business, which is really disappointing,” Murphy said, adding that PEI is a popular tourist destination and many tourists use these ratings to decide where to go.
“For a group of individuals who are now threatening small businesses, this is somewhat counterintuitive as they oppose the prime minister.”
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Political commentator and journalist Rick McLean said that the political landscape in Canada is getting more and more unpleasant and he is pointing the finger at the US. He believes this is the new reality that social media platforms are pushing, and Lone Oak is paying the price.
“I think social media has fundamentally changed how we get information, and I’m worried that because they’ve changed the way we get information, they’ll change our behavior, not just how we vote, but how we interact with everyone. different and how we interact with politicians,” McLean said.
“Of course I would open my business to any elected official”
The owners of the pub do not rule out that they may contact the police.
Despite the online storm, Murphy said he would get his prime minister back again, regardless of political leanings.
“I would certainly open my business to any elected official in our democratic country.”