Czech social media response to tornado includes antigypsyist rushes to judgment about Romani workers
Czech-language users of the Facebook social network have begun sharing a photograph from the Moravian municipality of Pánov that claims to identify Romani community members who allegedly cheated an older couple who have been afflicted by the recent destructive tornado in the region. The post also alleges the Romani community members then robbed a residential hotel in the area.
None of those allegations are true and the person who uploaded the photograph to the Internet along with the untrue description of its content has apologized for publishing it. "Good evening, I would like to officially apologize to the Holub stav firm for the post I made here about their taking a deposit from people in Pánov and leaving without doing any work. Today I've learned that the firm was pre-ordered, as was the deposit, but that the owners of the property themselves sent the workers away without allowing them to finish the work. It seems the information I received was quite distorted. They also never robbed a residential hotel. Once again, I deeply apologize," the Facebook user who started the rumor posted on 7 July (a screenshot of the post can be seen here).
Despite this retraction, the photograph and the untrue information about those depicted in it continue to be shared on Facebook. A different Facebook user has now added more untruths to the original post, writing: "Look out for these crooks posting as a construction firm. In Pánov on Saturday they took a deposit of about CZK 20 000 [EUR 780] for masonry work from an older couple. All day they just pretended to work and at the close of the day they came to the owners with an invoice ready for CZK 70 000 [EUR 2 730]. Before the locals could call the police, these guys had removed the firm's logo from their car and driven off to rob a residential hotel. They were in a black Audi A6. The matter has been reported to the Police of the Czech Republic along with the license plate number."
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