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OWIE, Md. (WUSA9) -- The owners of a Prince George's County bathroom restoration and remodeling company say they've apologized, asked for help from law enforcement and reached out to local media in an effort to stop what has become a one-sided war with an online army.
Beginning on October 20th, supporters of a YouTube provocateur known as "Thunderf00t" have been bombarding Porcelain Tub Restoration of Bowie with negative reviews on Yelp and Google, mocking emails and phone calls.
Jenny Keller, a vice president of the company and, until recently, the woman behind the YouTube channel "Laughing Witch" said this started with a letter she sent to the employer of Thunderf00t, real name Dr. Phil Mason, back in February. The letter was part of a campaign to pressure Mason to change what Keller and others believed was anti-feminist and anti-Muslim rhetoric on his popular YouTube channel, which has more than 400,000 subscribers
Mason saw the letters, and subsequent YouTube videos promoting Keller's campaign, as an effort to get him fired, and responded in kind. Mason posted a series of videos divulging Keller's name and business address (she named herself in her own videos), and encouraging his supporters around the world to review the company she leads with her husband, Paul Burns.
"I don't know how to make this go away," Burns told WUSA9 on Thursday. "We've apologized. This has nothing to do with my business. They're really hurting the wrong people. They want to hurt her. She taunted them in the video and said 'you can't hurt me.' Well, yes they can."
Burns said negative Yelp and Google reviews decimated his company's standing online. Calls and emails from would-be customers have dried up. The couple is now raising money online to support their workers should they go under, Burns says.
"We were on the ropes, and we were looking to see blue sky finally. Things were picking up then this came down, the hammer came down," Burns said. "You have no recourse as a business owner. They just, they take these reviews at face value. Its economic cyber terrorism."
Burns has contacted the online reviewing sites, receiving varying levels of cooperation in removing the negative reviews. His appeals to the FBI to investigate what he calls online harassment of his wife have gone unanswered.
Keller apologized to Mason in a video on her YouTube channel, then deactivated the channel, along with her Twitter profile. In an interview Thursday she was chastened, but still angry at Mason, and the blow-back from his supporters.
"So basically, I've been shut up and shut down. And so have most of the feminists on the YouTube community," Keller said.
She is, she concedes, surrendering, in hopes of saving her business.
"Those people seem to be totally dedicated to causing as much harm as they can because we engaged in a political action."
she didn't just write to his boss, she also wrote to the police and 5 newspapers. She tried to get him ARRESTED because she didn't like his youtube videos. In her letter she falsely claimed that thunderf00t "openly worships hitler" and praises the holocaust as good for humanity
Like · Reply · 21 · 14 hrs
Bow Man is correct, also they started a gofundme campaign right before their apology for 25,000, coincidently (or not) they lost a judgement to Wells Fargo 2 months ago for almost the same amount. Neither side of this story has acted admirably in this, But Jennifer Keller started this and her actions I find much more deplorable. This wasn't about anything but trying to silence someones opinion that she didn't agree with.
Like · Reply · 16 · 14 hrs
Jacques Cuze ·
Works at Freelance Journalist
She was absolutely proud and bragging on YouTube of how she tried to get him fired because she did not like his speech. Not only did she write to his employers, she falsely accused him of crimes in the Czech Republic that could have had him arrested. And she sent those accusations to the Police.
So now she finds out the Internet does not like her behavior and turns around and does to her what she did to him.
And apology? They issues a classic not apology. Apologizing to their customers and employees but not to her victim.
It's deplorable behavior on her part, on the trolls parts, on YELP who could easily have swiftly contained the situation by freezing their page and restoring it.