If you post hatred or racism on social media, activists are watching, and may tell your boss

Jul 30, 2018 by

Shortly after posting to Facebook that the “first thing” he would have done to protesters blocking the road “was unloaded my clip on them and then drove through them cuz [sic] I would’ve been in fear for my life,” Sean Collins, an Upper Burrell volunteer firefighter, was banned from the department.

“Everything he posted [was] not our beliefs at the fire department,” Chief Brian Fitch said.

Upper Burrell Volunteer Fire Company cut ties with Sean Collins after he posted on Facebook that he would unload his clip on protesters in the road

George Allen III, 29, of Pittsburgh’s West End, had alerted the Upper Burrell Volunteer Fire Co. when he posted a screenshot of Mr. Collins’ comment in late June. “Are these the views, values and core beliefs of Upper Burrell Twp VFC?” he wrote.

Mr. Allen is one of several activists who have been grabbing screenshots of social media comments that they deem to be racist or hostile — in his case, sometimes staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning scrolling through Facebook.

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If the commenter has publicly listed his or her employer, Mr. Allen and other activists tag the workplace when they post the screenshots.

Some of the commenters no longer have jobs.

“I want to get the word out,” Mr. Allen said. “It’s 2018 and this is still the type of hate that is festering in Pittsburgh.”

The initiative is not coming from a formal organization but is more of a grass-roots effort among loosely connected individuals.

Activists began capturing screenshots in the days following the June 19 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II by Officer Michael Rosfeld of East Pittsburgh police. Many of the comments in question ridicule the people who are protesting the shooting. Some insult the teenager who was killed.

Mr. Allen, a baker who describes himself on Facebook as a “racist reformer,” estimated that he and 30 to 40 collaborators have posted hundreds of screenshots on their personal profile pages.

“My goal at the end of the day is not to get anyone fired, but I’m curious to see if their employer shares the same view and beliefs as them,” Mr. Allen said. “My personal opinion is that I don’t think the employers will, but I could be wrong.”

Source: If you post hatred or racism on social media, activists are watching, and may tell your boss | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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