After a flurry of tweets and emails, Victoria mayor Lisa Helps took to Twitter to denounce a viral post for spreading misinformation.
A tweet shared on September 6th claims that the mayor of Victoria has “decided to take down all the Christmas lights this year not to offend the Muslims and all of Somalians there”, and includes a photo of Lisa Helps.
The mayor of Victoria just decided to take down all the Christmas lights this year not to offend the Muslims and all of Somalians there. I said before she's the stupidest woman in Canada taking down Sir John McDonald statue. pic.twitter.com/juMhCR1fe2
— Dennis moller (@MollerDennis) September 7, 2019
Since it was first posted, it has been retweeted 1.1K times and garnered nearly 2,000 comments, giving the false statement increased visibility across the social media platform.
In a response, mayor Helps slammed the contents of the tweet stating that it is “a total and absolute lie” and says it has resulted in her receiving hateful emails from across the country.
This post is a total and absolute lie. Do I have to get off of #Twitter too?! It's generating hateful emails from across the country to which I feel a need to respond. The actual facts are that we are supporting @myDVBA in EXPANDING the holiday light up this year. Sheesh! pic.twitter.com/ePwWhtWkpf
— Lisa Helps – Victoria Mayor (@lisahelps) September 9, 2019
The original tweet was posted by self-professed “Liberal hater” Dennis Moller whose Twitter bio states that he is “not fond of Islam”.
In response to the incident, Victoria residents and politicians came to Helps’ defence on social media.
“This really goes beyond the whole issue of civil discourse on social media,” writes View Royal mayor David Screech. “It is a complete and utter fabrication, completely unacceptable and something we are seeing more of.”
Others implored her to stay on Twitter despite hateful attacks.
“While we might not agree politically, I am appalled that you are the subject of untruthful and personal attacks,” writes Margot Swinburnson, SD62 trustee. “We need more women in politics, not fewer, and this crap is a deterrent.”