Editor’s Note: We discussed this topic on the Live Show (13:55) and were joined by Olga from the dance studio. I also heard back from Courtney Morse. Click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel and watch live.
This is Courtney Morse from Worcester.
On Thursday she made a post on Facebook that has been shared almost 1,000 times, alleging that a dance studio in West Boylston shamed and kicked out her daughter with down syndrome.
When most people read a post like this their normal human instinct is to empathize with the special needs child and get upset with the business. But I’ve been doing this long enough that I’ve learned that you can’t immediately believe everything a stranger posts on social media, especially when the villain they’re describing sounds too cartoonish to be real.
So I decided to do something unusual – reach out to both the owner of the business and the woman making the accusation. I’m old fashioned and I believe that it’s important to hear both sides of a story before rushing to judgment. Unfortunately the only person who got back to me was the owner, Olga Simakova.
Olga speaks with an accent, and I assume she’s an immigrant. She is the mother of 3 children and has been operating her business for nearly 20 years. ABL offers a variety of dance classes and never turns anyone away. This includes people of all ages and abilities. Lucy would not have been their first student with special needs, as they make accommodations for each person based on their ability.
As Courtney admitted in her post, the class that Lucy was signed up for was advertised as “beginner to intermediate.” According to Simakova, Lucy participated in the entire class, but struggled to keep up. Nevertheless she had a great time and was the last student to leave. At the end Simakova spoke with Courtney and recommended a different class, that in her professional opinion was more appropriate for Lucy’s level. She adamantly denies telling this mother that her special needs daughter “shouldn’t be in a class at all.” She also denies that Lucy was judged “on sight,” since she participated in the entire class.
Simakova was very upset when I spoke with her because Courtney had unleashed an online mob on her. The phone at her business has been ringing off the hook with people berating and threatening her for allegedly discriminating against a special needs child. She called the West Boylston Police Department who advised her not to engage with these people, to turn off her reviews on ABL’s Facebook page, and to delete the flood of negative comments as they were coming in.
I wasn’t there when this happened, so I can’t say for certain what happened. But neither can the the thousands of people who joined the online mob and took the word of a woman they never met just because she posted something on Facebook:
See all that? This is why it’s not hard to understand how Hitler did everything he did. It’s really easy when human beings are so ready and willing to turn their ire on other people in the community. It’s even easier when these people blindly believe everything you say, and are willing to gain your favor by doing things that they believe will please you.
“Sit outside their business with a sign and a chair.”
“I would have crushed her soul.”
“What a horrible human being.”
“Everyone 1 star the place.”
“Tag the shit out of them!”
Do people like this not realize that they’re the bad guys? You are trying to harm a complete stranger who you’ve never spoken to, merely because another complete stranger wrote something on Facebook that you were dumb enough to blindly believe. How many hoaxes that get posted on Facebook do you have to fall for before you realize that you shouldn’t be allowed to vote or operate a motor vehicle?
Then there’s this queef.
Imagine how much of a LOSER you have to be to spend your Saturday afternoon calling up and harassing a small business owner because you were so STUPID that you fell for a viral lie on Facebook. If you ever see Christian Jacobson in person just point and laugh at him:
He deserves nothing less than public humiliation.
What I was surprised about was that even people who lived in this small town, and probably know people who have been to this business before, were jumping on the bandwagon.
“Make this lady famous in a way she won’t want to be.”
Sure, no problem.
Adriana spent her Saturday intentionally trying to hurt another woman because it made her feel better about herself. What a sad, miserable existence.
I live one town over from West Boylston and I go to this plaza a lot because Planet Fitness is there. It’s supposed to be a judgment free zone, but these Karens didn’t get the message. I’ve also been there for kid’s birthday parties because there’s a whole play area and my kids loved it. I have nothing but good things to say about the place, and apparently others in town feel the same way:
People I spoke with who knew Olga all said the same thing about her – she is kind and compassionate, and would never treat a child like this. When I spoke to her I could hear the pain and hurt in her voice that she’s being smeared and attacked like this. Courtney, on the other hand, ignored my message.
Hundreds of comments were being left on ABL’s Facebook page, and Olga had to monitor it for threats while attempting to run her business at the same time. It was too hard to keep up with people like Marcy Lomme from Leominster, who dedicated their entire day to attacking an innocent woman:
Yea, she’s the one lacking empathy here. You’re the good person Marcy. And yes, how dare she delete fraudulent reviews from people who have never stepped foot in her business. She should allow “freedom of speech” when her business and livelihood are slandered by some chick from Worcester.
Then there’s Amanda Lambert.
She’s obviously not a smart person so she’ll pretty much believe anything she sees on TV or her phone.
“Any kids at any level can dance.”
Exactly. That’s what Olga did. The girl was at a level that was too advanced for her so after the class she told the mother she would put her in a more appropriate class. But that side of the story didn’t appear in a viral Facebook post that showed up on her feed, therefore it didn’t happen.
I attempted to warn Amanda that I was writing a blog shaming the shamers, and urged her to reconsider her behavior. But because she’s a very, very dumb human being, she ironically accused me of bullying (while she was bullying a business owner), and said that her (on retainer) lawyer would be calling me if she was featured in this blog.
I can’t wait to hear from him dear.
That’s kind of English.
Marcie Weinstein was ENRAGED that a business would delete comments from people who were threatening them and spreading malicious lies that harmed the business’ reputation.
“I’m not part of a mob, I’m a part of a community.”
No Marcie. You’re part of a mob, and you live in Salem. This community is actually my community, not yours. And your friend is a shameless, self absorbed liar who uses her special needs daughter as a prop. Hope that clears things up.
Also, one look at my profile might tell you a lot about me, but one look at your haircut tells me EVERYTHING I need to know about you.
Dayna Margarita-Dixon also spent most of this beautiful Saturday afternoon relentlessly bullying a stranger that just wanted to be left alone to conduct her business.
It should be noted that Dayna teaches special education and coaches cross country at Naragansett Regional High School in Templeton.
I left one little comment on the Gansett XC Facebook page about how their teacher and coach was participating in an online bullying and harassment campaign that has led to death threats, and suddenly her Facebook page was gone. I guess it’s all fun and games until it happens to you. Olga wasn’t a human being to Dayna. She was just something Dayna could spend her Saturday destroying before clocking back into work on Tuesday.
By far the most miserable cow of them all was this creature:
Caitlin Fenger is a bisexual she/they from Woonsocket, who has no ties to West Boylston.
She doxxed the owner, tagged media outlets, and politicians, and threatened lawsuits against the dance studio all day long.
She/they has a lot of lonely nights with her cat and vibrator in her future, so I’m not going to pile on her the way she’s piling on Olga’s business. If I had to wake up every morning and see this face in the mirror I’d be pretty miserable too.
I have publicly called out turtle riders before when they harass blog subjects. I’ve had people send screenshots to me of themselves sending messages to ratchets like Monica Cannon-Grant, because for some reason they think this will impress me. It doesn’t. But the difference between Monica Cannon-Grant and this woman, is you have seen with your own eyes the horrible things MCG has done and said. Messaging her is dumb, but at least the people who messaged her saw her doing something horrible and were inspired to share their thoughts with her.
None of the people attacking this business saw this happen. The universe just makes more sense to them if there is a villain out there, and that they did their part in shaming them. Maybe it makes them feel better about themselves, or makes them believe they’re making a difference. Perhaps they just wanna feel like they’re part of something. Either way, it’s best to find out the whole story before deciding that it’s your job to join an online mob that seeks to destroy another person’s livelihood. I hope that Olga never makes up a lie about a lie about Courtney Morse, and sends an online mob after her employer Carbonneau Bridal and Forwalwear in Shrewsbury, the same way Courtney did to ABL.