How the Internet can balance out bullies – lift Obama one day, get attaacked the next and then see the cavalry come in for the rescue

billmurrayby djp3000

Bear-hug pizza man becomes subject of Yelp war – 
[Via Political Hotsheet – CBS News ]

The latest comments on Big Apple Pizza’s Yelp page aren’t about anchovies.

After President Obama stopped by and received a bear hug from owner Scott Van Nuzer, comments started being posted on the pizza shop’s page on Yelp, a site for posting reviews of local businesses. With two 5-star reviews dating back to 2009, Big Apple Pizza’s overall rating took a dive with new comments – from people living much further than the Fort Pierce, Fla., pizzeria will likely deliver – awarding 1 out of 5 stars.


So, what happens to a former Republican who hugs the President when the President is Obama? Some jerks take to his Yelp page, trying to bring down the small business owner’s business by rating down his Yelp site.

Big Apple Pizza had only two reviews before these jerks came along. With their downrating – all obviously political as some even said so – his rating dropped tremendously.

This shows the ability of the Internet to be gamed by idiots. They thought they were really cute trying to bully a small business owner.

But what happened next is also amazing. Because one of the things any community has to be able to do is control the jerks and keep them from hurting others just for the fun of it. Otherwise, the community collapses.

Lots of people signed on to push back. Instead of a handful of reviews, there are now almost 900, almost all 5  stars. While some are simply partisan pushback in order to provide a rebalancing, there are also some others that make me feel much better about  humanity.

Many of the replies actually took the opportunity to provide a very favorable review based on their own experience. They had not been energized to add a review before. They enjoyed the place but saw no reason to tell everyone else.

But they heard about a place they liked under unfair attack and responded by doing what they could to help – by writing a review not a polemic. They realized the bullying aspect of these jerks and took action. This one is typical of many.

This is a really great pizza chain on the Treasure Coast. When I went to Martin County High School, this was really the only place to get good pizza during off-campus lunch (1986-1990).

Being New Yorkers, we are SUPER picky about pizza in my family. This pizza is the real deal and tastes like actual New York pizza. Another favorite of mine is Salerno Pizza, but I do prefer Big Apple.


Live and let live… and small business owners have the right to support whichever political candidate they choose. Why deny yourself great pizza because the owner of Big Apple supports Obama? Is there any logic to that?

This is not just a left wing-right wing thing. We saw something very similar with Chik-fil-a when liberal politicians tried to go after them because they had a conservative owner. People responded by supporting the company.

This is a response of ordinary people to stop bullying by jerks. It allows a healthy community to publicly call out those who act to harm the community. These jerks are not representative of  either party but think they can speak for all. 

A healthy community demonstrates that these bullies cannot speak for all.

Nice to see, once more. Even at the very local level of a single pizza place, people will respond.

People will rise up to protect those they see being harmed unfairly by others. At least as long as the energy to do so is as small as writing a few words on a web page.

As Bill Murray said, “Baby steps.