Monday, September 10, 2012

Yelp Becomes Political Battleground For Obama-Hugging Pizza Parlor Owner

Silly season has definitely arrived.

On Sunday, Scott Van Duzer became the Obama campaign’s favorite Republican bench-pressing pizza-parlor owner when he lifted President Obama off the floor during a surprise hug in his Florida restaurant. The image made the front pages of newspapers around the country and immediately whizzed around the Internet.

But on Monday, Mr. Van Duzer found that fame can be a complicated proposition. The Yelp profile page for his pizza place, which had only two reviews before Monday (“Love the Pizza, wings, subs and the best strombolie [sic] in town”) was suddenly inundated with hundreds of reviews, making it perhaps the most politically charged pizza review board around.
Self-identified conservatives flooded Duzer's Yelp page with one-star negative reviews. 

“People are saying a lot of bad things and boycotting my restaurant,” said Van Duzer, a registered Republican. “There’s no middle line anymore, and that’s exactly what’s wrong with our country right now.”

Yelp appears to now be yanking the reviews as fast as it can, but these screen-captures are typical (click on captures to see full-sized): 

Duzar's fans - both local and across the country - quickly came to his defense however, posting hundreds of positive reviews like these:

By this afternoon, positive comments supporting the small-business owner completely overwhelmed negative ones. All I can say is, if you find yourself in Fort Pierce, Florida, go have yourself a piece of pie.

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