Calif. flower shop with no connection to Capitol riot flooded with threats, negative reviews
Not long after pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, the angry yet puzzling calls started rolling into Becky’s Flowers, a florist in Roseville.
But it didn’t end there.
Over the past week, the family-owned business in Placer County has been subjected to hundreds of negative reviews on Google and Yelp, in addition to countless threatening comments on Facebook and Twitter. All of them were directed toward Jenny Cudd, a woman who was arrested Wednesday in connection with the riots and charged with two misdemeanors for entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct.
Cudd was identified after she posted a video on Facebook bragging about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office being broken into during the riot, reports the AP.
She also happens to be the proprietor of a florist called Becky’s Flowers in Midland, Texas — the source of the confusion for Aaron Alberti, who has owned and operated the Roseville Becky’s Flowers since 2004.
Now, he’s trying to clear the air in order to save his business.
“It’s been nonstop … we’ve just been flooded with messages,” he told SFGATE on Thursday afternoon. “One of our employees recently picked up the phone, and the person on the other line said, ‘Are you the bitch who stormed the Capitol?’ And she just said, ‘No, ma’am, we’re in California.’ And the person hung up on her. There’s no apology, no nothing.”
At first, Alberti tried to delete the growing number of comments, which he found downright disturbing.
“People have written things like, ‘I hope you get cancer,’ ‘I hope your shop burns down,’ ‘I hope you die,’ ‘I hope you rot in jail,’” he said. “And those are the polite ones.”
Contrarily, Alberti added that the shop even received a love letter intended for Cudd from a firefighter living in Florida.
“To be honest, they both concern me,” he said.
In response to the harassment, Alberti notified the Roseville Police Department, which has been periodically sending out officers to check in on the shop. He also contacted Yelp, which he said acted quickly to remove the misguided comments, as well as Google, though he’s still awaiting a response.
of this store since 1973.— Becky's Flowers (@BeckysFlowersCA) January 8, 2021
We are getting hate messages and bad reviews as a result. To our customers, please know that we were not part of that. Thank you for your continued trust and please ignore the hate reviews that are not meant for us.
“It was just crickets,” he said. “Which was frustrating, because somehow all of (Cudd’s) negative reviews were removed from her page and likely identified as a targeted attack, and we’re the ones dealing with the repercussions.”
(At the time this article was published, most of the negative Google reviews for Alberti’s business appeared to have been removed from the platform. However, Cudd’s business also has a 4.6 rating.)
Two other florists bearing the same name in Kentucky and Scotland were burdened with similar harassment. Alberti said all of them have given up on deleting the comments, and are instead attempting to respond to each one in order to set the record straight.
“I offered to send some people maps of the United States,” joked Alberti. “Most people apologize and then they reverse, but some are steadfast. My thing is, I understand the need to vent and get rid of that hostility, but just spend an extra five seconds of time to see that we’re not in Texas. The very platforms that these people are using to type these rants and tirades … it would take them less time to find out we’re not that business than it would take for them to write the post.”
He’s concerned about what the future holds for his business, which has been around since 1973 and spans four generations.
“We’re just trying to survive,” said Alberti. “Being a florist is hard enough. We don’t have a high profit margin. We do it because we love it and love flowers. To already be suffering through COVID and add this on top of it, it’s stressful.”
In spite of the unwarranted attacks, he said the shop has received a slew of orders from customers showing their support in the past few days, and some of them are responding in the shop’s defense on social media. Alberti has also been uplifted by the camaraderie he’s developed with the other owners of Becky’s Flowers in Kentucky and Scotland.
“We all kind of got together when this happened, and we’re on each other’s pages trying to help each other out,” he said. “It’s brought us together which is kind of a fascinating thing. My wife and I want to go to England next year and if we go, we definitely plan on visiting the Scotland shop.”
Though the frustration is ongoing, Albert is trying to handle the situation with a bit of humor. The cover photo for his business profile on Facebook now shows an image of Obi Wan Kenobi.
It reads: “This is not the flower shop you’re looking for … We did not attack the Capitol. She’s in Texas.”