By Paul Goldfinger, MD, Editor of Tropicanaforum.com January 28, 2021.
I attended that meeting and stood, with a microphone, at the end, to complain that Eileen had been blocked at their Co-Op Facebook site for no good reason and that her free speech was being denied.
Clarice spoke and claimed that the reason was only that Eileen had posted a link—a violation of some rule. She said that links make their site vulnerable to viruses.
I said, “That is nonsense.” Links are a perfectly normal form of Internet discourse. Most people, at one time or another, have sent links to emails and to Internet sites, and links can be found throughout Facebook. Links, like words, photographs, or audio, are a form of expression–a form of speech.
I told the Board that Clarice blocked Eileen because Clarice didn’t like the link which Eileen posted which was to this site, Tropicanaforum.com. It wasn’t about links in general. What would Clarice have done if someone had posted a link to Disneyland?
Clarice admitted that motive when Eileen called to find out why she had been blocked. No one had even notified us–it was crudely implemented without any warning or explanation. Clearly the motive was to punish Eileen to get at me.
I told the Board that there were people on their site who were engaged in personal attacks and criticism of the Board, but they were not blocked. Only Eileen who did nothing wrong was blocked. This is clearly discrimination and double standards.
At this point the Co-Op President said something incriminating and ignorant. He blurted out that they would only block links that are “bad” because “some links are good and some are bad.” A groan was heard from the audience.
And he shouted something about “lies and nastiness,” accusations which are not about Eileen on Facebook. It seems that he had become unhinged.
So, I replied that they are engaged in choosing which speech is acceptable. Freedom of speech is about saying what you want to say even if it is something that is unpopular; these people are about censoring and double standards. I don’t believe that “link” double talk.
There were other nonsensical moments. Clarice wanted to take full responsibility for what she did and said that the Board was not responsible, but she had previously told Eileen that her action had been approved by the Board.
And I pointed out to her that the Board is responsible for her actions on the job at Tropicana. She is an employee.
Then someone asked if I would agree that Eileen would never again place a link on their Facebook page in exchange for re-instating her. I agreed to that, because I got to make my point, and we don’t care about the links; just the access which is needed for us as shareholders to know what people are saying.
I parted company by insisting that they have been engaged in denying her free speech and that is un-American, and I hold the entire Board and Clarice responsible for this outrage. And now our complaint is immortalized on the Internet for all to see.
So this at least allowed me to say something to their face. It is important to unmask people who find excuses for depriving any citizen of their civil rights.
The disappointment is that no one in attendance would participate in this discussion other than the few who shouted out of turn while the President lost control of his meeting. I was alone in the crowd, and that is quite revealing to me.
And if someone wants to share the Forum, forget the link. Just tell them to Google Tropicana Forum. That is not a link.