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Businesses alleged to support the 'Freedom Convoy' protest face social media backlash – Ottawa Citizen

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Posted Sunday on Instagram, a list of restaurants said to support the convoy of truckers and demonstrators protesting COVID-19 mandates soon migrated to Twitter, accompanied by a suggestion that the listed businesses be boycotted.

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An online list that names, without providing details, 15 Ottawa businesses that allegedly support the convoy protesters has created a social media uproar and prompted several of those businesses to issue lengthy denials.

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The Grand Pizzeria, Zak’s Diner and Zak’s Cantina, downtown restaurants under the same ownership, issued identical responses Monday on Instagram.

“It’s been a very difficult weekend for our city,” said the message. “The views displayed by some of the participants in this protest are quite frankly disgusting.”

Among thousands of protesters who ostensibly came last weekend to Ottawa from across Canada to decry COVID-19 vaccine mandates were individuals who flew racist flags, debased the National War Memorial and nearby Terry Fox statue and demanded food meant for the homeless from the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Some protesters ignored public health rules and antagonized passersby who followed them or workers who tried to enforce them.

The downtown restaurants stressed in their message that while they were open last weekend, being open was “in no way a sign of support for this protest.”

“We are dedicated to following all public health orders and will continue to provide a safe and welcoming environment for those who choose to follow those rules,” the message concluded.

Posted Sunday on Instagram, the list of restaurants soon migrated to Twitter, accompanied by a suggestion that the listed businesses be boycotted.

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The furor surrounding businesses alleged to have supported the protesters shows how intensely political and polarizing the convoy has been.

John Borsten, owner of Zak’s and The Grand Pizzeria, said in an interview: “We are surrounded by bullies on the left and right.”

The Sussex Avenue restaurant Metropolitain Brasserie responded on Instagram that its inclusion on the list was “completely false information… we continue to ask the original author of the post to remove it and apologize.”

Lieutenant’s Pump on Elgin Street.
Lieutenant’s Pump on Elgin Street. Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia News

The Lieutenant’s Pump on Elgin Street posted a detailed response on Instagram, stressing it did not support “the cause of those currently protesting in our city. This convoy is rooted from, and aligned with, white nationalism, racism, and extremists holding clear agendas other than vaccine mandates.”

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The business’s post illustrated its side regarding its outdoor display of an American flag, as well as some Canadian flags, on Friday and an incident that followed.

In an interview, John Couse, owner of the Lieutenant’s Pump, said he was “naive” when he displayed the U.S. flag, which he meant as a “hospitable thing to do. I honestly didn’t think there would be any concern over it or opposition.”

The bar, he added, had put up flags in the past, including Ottawa Senators flags and Irish flags on St. Patrick’s Day.

The Pump’s post said an individual tried to steal the U.S. flag and Couse went to retrieve it. “Regrettably, upon retrieval of his property, an altercation was had,” said the post. “We adamantly deny that any party was struck.”

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But Luka Eriksen, a resident of the apartment complex above the Lieutenant’s Pump, said she saw Couse pinning a friend of hers on the ground, shaking that person and screaming.

Couse said the altercation “was settled pretty quickly. I thought it was an amicable settlement. But social media got a hold of it and it’s been blown out of proportion.” All of the flags were removed Friday night, he said.

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Vanessa Roy, who does social media work for the Lieutenant’s Pump, said the Ottawa Police Service was contacted not only about the altercation but also about subsequent threats of violence made against the Pump online.

While Art-Is-In Bakery did not post a denial after being listed as a convoy supporter, co-owner Stéphanie Mathieson told this newspaper in an email: “We’re all feeling very disturbed to be on that list. We haven’t promoted, donated or endorsed this initiative at all in any shape or form.”

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Meanwhile, the owner-operator of an Orléans burger joint that offered protesters free food on Saturday said he disagreed with extremist elements associated with the convoy.

“If you’re racist, if you’re sexist, if you’re homophobic, my core values do not align with yours. Never have and never will,” said Jessy Brethour, owner of Meatheads Grill, which was not among the businesses listed online.

Brethour said critics of his offer “looped me in with Nazi flags and confederate flags… They’re thinking in absolutes: ‘You must be a racist too.’ That kind of thought and mentality broke my heart. I figured I had earned the benefit of the doubt from the community.”

Jessy Brethour, owner of Meatheads Grill.
Jessy Brethour, owner of Meatheads Grill. Photo by Errol McGihon /POSTMEDIA

Brethour said he was “pro-choice — my body, my choice” when it came to vaccination and that he supported truckers “who have literally kept this country rolling.

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“I tried to support the good aspects of that group while denouncing the evil, the hate-fueled agenda,” Brethour said in an interview.

He said after announcing his offer of free food on Facebook last week, he received about 10 truckers Saturday, and all paid for their food. All but one wore masks, Brethour said, and the one who initially balked was convinced to follow public health measures.

During the pandemic, Brethour’s business has repeatedly supported front-line hospital workers with deliveries of free food meant to boost morale, and Brethour said he could simultaneously support hospital workers such as his wife and protesting truckers.

“I’m a good person. I love my city. I don’t want to see anybody get sick,” he said. “(And) I don’t like other people being forced into doing what they don’t want to do.”

“It’s a difficult line to walk,” Brethour said.

phum@postmedia.com

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7 Tips to Grow Your Audience on Every Social Media Platform [Infographic] – Social Media Today

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Are you looking for ways to get more social media followers? Want to grow your audience by sharing the right social media content?

The team from Giraffe Social Media share their tips to get more followers in this infographic.

Here’s a quick summary:

  • Repackage and repurpose
  • Steal like an artist
  • Trends are your friend
  • FAQs can be content
  • Get social on social
  • Collaborate everywhere
  • You need a newsletter

Check out the infographic for more detail.

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Links, News and Notes: HHOF Decisions, Growing the Game on Social Media, and Free Agency – Silver Seven

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It’s the Monday edition of Links, News and Notes!

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

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Company buying Trump's social media app faces subpoenas – ABC News

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NEW YORK — Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp. dropped 10% in morning trading Monday as the company reported that the subpoenas and a related investigation by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission could delay or even prevent its acquisition of the maker of Trump’s Truth Social app.

The Justice Department subpoenas follow an ongoing probe by the SEC into whether Digital World broke rules by having substantial talks about buying Trump’s company starting early last year before Digital World sold stock to the public for the first time in September, just weeks before its announcement that it would be buying Trump’s company.

Trump’s social media venture launched in February as he seeks a new digital stage to rally his supporters and fight Big Tech limits on speech, a year after he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The Trump Media & Technology Group — which operates the app and was in the process of being acquired by “blank-check” firm Digital World — said in a statement that it will cooperate with “oversight that supports the SEC’s important mission of protecting retail investors.”

The new probe could make it more difficult for Trump to finance his social media company. The company last year got promises from dozens of investors to pump $1 billion into the company, but it can’t get the cash until the Digital World acquisition is completed.

Stock in Digital World rocketed to more than $100 in October after its deal to buy Trump’s company was announced. The stock traded at just around $25 in morning trading Monday.

Digital World is a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, part of an investing phenomenon that exploded in popularity over the past two years.

Such blank check companies are empty corporate entities with no operations, only offering investors the promise they will buy a business in the future. As such they are allowed to sell stock to the public quickly without the usual regulatory disclosures and delays, but only if they haven’t already lined up possible acquisition targets.

Digital World said in a regulatory filing Monday that each member of its board of directors has been subpoenaed by a grand jury in the Southern District of New York. Both the grand jury and the SEC are also seeking a number of documents tied to the company and others including a sponsor, ARC Global Investments, and Miami-based venture capital firm Rocket One Capital.

Some of the sought documents involve “due diligence” regarding Trump Media and other potential acquisition targets, as well as communications with Digital World’s underwriter and financial adviser in its initial public offering, according to the SEC disclosure.

Digital World also Monday announced the resignation of one of its board members, Bruce Garelick, a chief strategy officer at Rocket One.

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