The owner of one local business is finding out exactly how fast word travels on the Internet – and how mighty and swift its vengeance can be.
Early this morning a screenshot of a Facebook spat between Angela Lannon Wilcox and Lisa Thomas, Heather Allen and Brian Guiry was posted at Imgur.com/irWgbiF.
Thomas said that it all started when she posted a video from the Republican National Convention during which a Queen song plays in the background on her Facebook page. “I put that video up because it’s hilarious,” Thomas said. She said tongue-in-cheek banter ensued with people asking about whether the RNC had permission to play the song, if Donald Trump knew Freddie Mercury was gay, etc.
The lighthearted conversation took a darker turn when Wilcox commented, “Do you have something better … we have the BODY COUNT … what you hot … sheep.”
This sparked what can only be described as an epic war of words.
“[Wilcox] came out of nowhere very angry, being a bully,” Thomas wrote today via Messenger.
After Thomas commented that she had “no idea” what Wilcox wrote, Wilcox fired back. “[T]hat’s because you are stupid. The number of people killed by Islamic Extremists. You didn’t understand, because you are a stupid regurgitating dummy of the Left.”
Thomas demurred that she didn’t understand because of “poor grammar” and pointed out that is “ironic” that Wilcox would “be screaming about Islamic extremists in the name of Trump.”
Wilcox responded, “yes…and you is so educated …is you employing anyone? … I have 4 employees…how mannies checks do you sign each week…or are you just another unemployed ‘intelligent’ liberal? DUMBASS.” [sic]
It got worse from there. Guiry, Thomas and Allen’s attempts to lighten the mood with jokes seemed to have no effect on Wilcox, who continued coming back with statements like, “you wouldn’t be a Liberal if you had been successful,” “All the Christians have been wiped out in the middle east, Eurpe is next,” “I’m a LIBERAL, ‘cause it’s cool…we’re anti-establishment…we are cool…on FB all day…spouting our beliefs…,” and “you are a product of dumbass LIBERALS that only care about their twats…” [sic]
After Wilcox's final comment on the thread in the screenshot, “you will become more conservative as you age or have kids…BYE BYE,” Thomas wrote, “Angela…Goodbye. I won’t be seeing you at your new business in Avondale – the Florida Creamery.”
Afterwards, Thomas said, she blocked Wilcox.
Thomas said the conversation occurred late yesterday evening. It was posted on Imgur.com, a site similar to Reddit, several hours later, launching a cascade of shares that became an avalanche.
It was anything but business as usual at Florida Creamery’s online presence today.
According to Google, which has not yet updated with today’s ratings, the business has 55 Facebook reviews and is rated at 4.6 out of five stars on the site.
As of 5:00 p.m. today, the business had 200 Facebook reviews and a rating 2.1 stars. Fully 139 of the reviews gave Florida Creamery one star. Many commenters wrote that the owner is “a bigot.” (Florida records on Sunbiz.org list Angela L. Wilcox as the registered agent of Florida Creamery on St. Johns Avenue.)
On one of the comment threads on a review, Florida Creamery wrote, “[I] messed up…I don’t want any more millenials posting [anti] Trump rhetoric. My bad. I’m done forever.”
As of 5:33 p.m., the Florida Creamery Facebook page is no longer available. FWM's multiple attempts to refresh the page brought up a message that said, “The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.” Wilcox's personal page has also disappeared from Facebook.
Similar negative reviews of the business are now appearing on other sites, such as Yelp, where M.C. from Sacramento, California wrote today:
Sadly, I will avoid returning to this establishment despite the creamy deliciousness of their frozen delights. For hate-free treats, you will need to go elsewhere. See, Americans don't just vote on our ballots, our voices can be heard through the businesses we choose to support. Well, my money won't be supporting this business ever again. The owner, Angela, must not quite understand how social media works because she thought nothing of making comments espousing bigotry and hate on social media... comments that have now gone viral. Despite enjoying their ice cream on my recent visit to the Sunshine State, my next trip will exclude a stop to the Florida Creamery on St. John's Ave.
Folio Weekly Magazine called Florida Creamery this afternoon and asked the woman who answered if she was aware of the drama unfolding online. The woman, who did not give a name, said she was. (An inside source says that Wilcox is out of town.)
FWM asked to speak with Wilcox and give her an opportunity to tell her side of the story and explain what happened. The woman said that Wilcox did not want to talk about it at this time.
Asked how many employees the business has, the woman said, “I’m not going to disclose that,” and hung up.
Although she said Wilcox “did this to herself,” Thomas, a business owner herself, said she feels sorry for Florida Creamery's employees and does not feel any sense of triumph over the backlash against Wilcox and her business. “Today when all this just exploded, I feel horrible for her. I feel horrible for her.”
Update: As of July 21, the Yelp page for Florida Creamery is locked and a message says that "it is being monitored by Yelp's Support team for content related to media reports.
After the TU reported that Guiry's older brother, Mike Guiry, a marketing director with Shepherd, suggested Thomas and Wilcox meet for an "ice cream social" to talk things out, FWM asked Thomas via Messenger if she was down for some double scoop apologies. Thomas responded that she would meet Wilcox "in private" and, "I would just like for her to apologize for being derogatory and venomous towards the majority of the neighborhood who supports her business."