False Facebook Post Spurs Armed, Xenophobic Protest

Social media is often incredibly useful for spreading the word about bad things that happen and organizing a response. But what happens a false social media posting starts to spread? Well if it involves someone of Arabic descent and an alleged denial of service for someone in the military, the xenophobes grab their American flags and guns and head right down there to protest.

A Holly, Michigan Mobil gas station is receiving threats after a misunderstanding was blown out of proportion by social media. When a woman posted to Facebook her perspective of an encounter that her husband, who is a reservist for the U.S. Military, had at a Mobil gas station while in uniform, social media users were quick to share the status update. The woman claimed that her husband was denied gas at a gas station by the clerk, who she said was Arabic. She presumed the refusal was in protest to her husband’s uniform. Quickly, a boycott was created by eager social media users without looking into the facts.

According to the Mobil station, the reservist was “refused gas,” because the Mobil gas station was out of the type of gas the man wanted.

The presumptions led to threats against the Mobil station. Nick Ghalib, the manager of the Mobil, spoke with Inquisitr in a phone interview. Nick was the Mobil employee that was originally accused of the bigoted comment. Nick told Inquisitr that there was no more premium or mid-grade gas available. Those types of gasoline were sold out by noon that day. Only regular gas was available. Nick says he tried to explain that to the man, but the reservist just left quickly. Nick recognizes that he has a strong accent, but wants to make it known that neither he, nor the Mobil gas station discriminates against anyone. He said that everyone is welcome at the Holly, Mobil.

Diana Clark Davis of Holly, Michigan wrote on a Facebook group for people who grew up in Holly, “I looked at the original poster’s page and that article has had nearly 8,000 shares just off her page so far.” When the reservist’s wife took down the status, Facebook users then jumped to the conclusion that Facebook took down the post. At that point social media users began sharing the screen-grab of the status in place of the status itself.

And then a bunch of people show up waving guns and American flags around. After deleting the post, the soldier’s wife posted another status update, then closed down the account. That update said:

“i am honestly shocked that it got out like it didnt and i am aware these people are getting threatening calls i have delete what post i could because i do not want anyone hurt what so ever. my husband was very upset with me for even saying anything because he does not like social media for that reason. i posted my post out of anger b.c. to many men and women do get denied service and that’s what my husband felt happened to him when the man said we don’t serve gas here.”

Really? Military personnel get denied service in this country? Where, exactly? Give me an example. Gay people, on the other hand, get denied service regularly and I bet a whole bunch of the same people who showed up with guns and flags think that’s just dandy.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1159674804 robertbaden

    This is what is bad about rumor mongering. And you don’t need face book or other modern media to do this.

    Go look up the Tulsa Race riot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597316935 ashleybell

    “Military personnel get denied service in this country? Where, exactly? Give me an example”

    Well… The VA maybe?

    s/

    Also. I’ve wondered about the effect of the ACA on the VA…Wouldn’t it just be easier to put military personel on the ACA on the gov’t dime? Wouldn’t they then have faster and easier access to needed medical attention?

  • roggg

    Why is social media getting the blame for this? Someone made a racist and xenophobic conclusion about a non-event, and posted it for the whole world to see. The propagation of the racist and bigoted status is not the problem. The status is, and the racist, bigoted attitudes that lead to it are the problem.

  • sugarfrosted

    Really? Military personnel get denied service in this country? Where, exactly? Give me an example.

    Just after and during Vietnam it happened, but that’s in the distant past now.

  • dingojack

    “Falsely yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre”, or just more free speech?

    Dingo

  • Chiroptera

    Wow. Maybe the stories about hippies spitting on service personnel will make a come back too.

  • Chiroptera

    Gay people, on the other hand, get denied service regularly and I bet a whole bunch of the same people who showed up with guns and flags think that’s just dandy.

    That’s a good point. What would the right wing idiots think if someone had a sincerely held belief that warfare and violence is bad and that serving in the military enables violence and so refuses to serve military personnel?

  • dugglebogey

    I think you kind of buried the lead here. The point of this story is that when you tell someone about gay people being denied services, the most often comment you’ll hear from a conservative is “they should just go someplace else.” They say this as if that is what anyone would do and that it’s wrong to make a big deal about it.

    Yet when it happens to someone in their “protected” class (even if it is a misunderstanding and ludicrous to believe it actually happened) this is how people react.

  • eric

    my husband was very upset with me for even saying anything because he does not like social media for that reason

    Sounds like your husband was actually acting pretty reasonably human in this situation. What he did sounds like griping/venting in private because he was frustrated. But that’s all it was; some ill-considered words said to his wife, in private, because he was angry. It took facebook to turn it into a racial incident.

    Roggg:

    Why is social media getting the blame for this?

    Because it’s a tool for highly effectively spreading gossip/news, it rightfully gets the blame when gossip gets spread faster than it otherwise would. What you’re doing is using the NRA’s “guns don’t kill people” defense for social media. That defense is (IMO) invalid in both cases. Guns DO make killing easier, so some blame can be laid on their use/availability. And social media DOES make communication faster and broader, so some blame can be laid on its ability to spread gossip.

    To be fair, social news media and the internet in general should also get a lot of credit for the rapid dissemination of good information, too. It’s a double-edged sword.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Do you think the gun-toting Americans were seriously trying to help a serviceman in distress, or were they just enjoying a bit of show-off time (and hoping for a chance to maybe get off a shot or two)?

  • tubi

    Reading the quote at the end of the post, I’m wondering who has a better grasp of English, Nick at Holly Mobil, or the wife.

  • John Pieret

    No doubt Joseph Farah will commend the Muslim for politely refusing service to this Christian!

    /sarcasm

  • anubisprime

    grumpyoldfart @ 10

    Do you think the gun-toting Americans were seriously trying to help a serviceman in distress, or were they just enjoying a bit of show-off time (and hoping for a chance to maybe get off a shot or two)?

    Well your latter conclusion might well apply to the fiasco with Bundy in Nevada, those braniacs are just a collection of dumb carrion crow spoiling for a pop at the government agents be they cop or other…and Bundy ranch provides the scenario where they can pretend to be the ‘hole in the wall gang’ with the sheriff’s posse outside.

    This just sounds like a bunch of righteous prigs waving their pseudo make believe dicks around for effect…they certainly do not believe in overselling themselves!

  • cgm3

    I’m sure that if Mr. Ghalib had merely explained to the protestors that he has deeply held religious convictions against serving individuals who have been trained in the use of lethal force — peace out, man! — they would have understood.

    (And if you believe that, I’ve got some land in southern Georgia I’d like to sell you.)

  • steve84

    @sugarfrosted

    Unfortunately, the treatment of soldiers has swung entirely into the other direction. How people who returned from Vietnam were treated wasn’t ok. But the boundless, unthinking and forced military worship that goes on today is just as disturbing. People are expected to worship the ground soldiers walk on, automatically assume that everything they do is right, give their opinions a greater weight and never question anything about it. And if anyone refuses to go along with it they are harassed and accused of a lack of patriotism.

  • http://www.clanfield.net janiceintoronto

    Your country has completely gone to shit.

  • freehand

    Steve84: But the boundless, unthinking and forced military worship that goes on today is just as disturbing.

    .

    True – unless they’re black, in which case the soldiers are living the easy life on the taxpayer’s dime. See the earlier post “Fox News Fans Get Racist in Response to Cute Video”.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Janice, it’s been that way for a long time now. Thanks for noticing. 😉

    It’s actually improved in some minor ways in the last few years, but the reactionary idiots are really out in force these days.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    sugarfrosted @ # 4 & steve84 @ # 15: Just after and during Vietnam it happened… How people who returned from Vietnam were treated wasn’t ok.

    Nearly all of that was even more imaginary than the incident in this case. Please read, e.g., Jerry Lembcke’s The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam for an understanding of how R. Nixon and his accomplices did everything they could to deflect blame and anger away from themselves and onto their opposition, with full co-operation from the “liberal media”.

    We in the antiwar movement were finding numerous allies among Vietnam Veterans, who marched with us and spoke up at events such as the famous Winter Soldier hearings/documentary.

  • Michael Heath

    The soldier’s wife:

    “i am honestly shocked that it got out like it didnt and i am aware these people are getting threatening calls i have delete what post i could because i do not want anyone hurt what so ever. my husband was very upset with me for even saying anything because he does not like social media for that reason. i posted my post out of anger b.c. to many men and women do get denied service and that’s what my husband felt happened to him when the man said we don’t serve gas here.”

    In a field of bigotry, morons are fertile seeds.

  • shay

    “That’s a good point. What would the right wing idiots think if someone had a sincerely held belief that warfare and violence is bad and that serving in the military enables violence and so refuses to serve military personnel?”

    Chiropetera — excellent point (and I say this as a retired Marine). I think I will use it the next time I hear someone whine about business owners not being allowed to refuse service to gays.

  • mattlantis

    “i posted my post out of anger b.c. to many men and women do get denied service and that’s what my husband felt happened to him when the man said we don’t serve gas here.”

    .

    “Really? Military personnel get denied service in this country? Where, exactly? Give me an example.”

    .

    Ed, I don’t think she claimed military personnel get denied service regularly, she just said men and women do. To put it as nicely as possible, her writing is not exactly up to the standards you reasonably have, so it’s probably best to interpret what she says as generously as possible. I assume she was well-meaning, and if anything, sympathetic to the people who do get denied service regularly.