Earlier this week, an Instagram video that captured the beatdown of two customers by bouncers at Fort Lauderdale beach bar Dirty Blondes went viral, igniting a firestorm of online criticism.
On Monday, supporters of beaten patrons Alexander Coelho and David Parker launched a social media campaign with a "Boycott Dirty Blondes" Facebook page and the Twitter hashtags #boycottdirtyblondes and #boycottblondies. In just three days, the page has already earned over 8,000 likes.
The administrator of the page, who has chosen to remain anonymous, hopes that battery charges against Coelho will be dropped and that the bouncers and bar will be held responsible.
"Alexander's life will be forever changed regardless of this situation's outcome," he told Broward/Palm Beach New Times. "We feel their lives should also be affected. As we stated on our page, Alex's mug shot will be on Google forever regardless if the charges are dropped. Try explaining that to a potential employer; he'll probably never be given the opportunity to clarify."
According to a friend, the beating ensued after Coelho's party requested a manager's intervention when a bartender became hostile; Coelho and Parker were arrested for returning to the bar and threatening to fight the bouncers. Those who "like" the Boycott Dirty Blondes page are privy to a constant stream of updates and unverified information related to the case, including the possible identities and criminal histories of bouncers seen in the video.
The administrator, however, may have taken things a bit too far for Facebook. Wednesday around 8:00 p.m., the administrators of the fan page were temporarily disabled from further updating the page, as first reported by New Times. One admin suggested the bar's management might have had a hand in shutting it down.
"We are SPECULATING that people who want us silenced excessively flagged our posts and got us an 'Automated Ban' as the notice," wrote an admin in a status update.
For now, the page is back up and running and seemingly unstoppable.
"What we are seeing here is actually the power of people getting together for a cause," social media consultant Craig Agranoff told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "Unlike the past when you had people rallying and picketing a business, here we have the community saying what happened here is ridiculous. I've never seen so many people so angry and get behind a cause so quickly like this."
Dirty Blondes' own Facebook page has been removed since the video went viral. "They are just trying to make us look bad," owner A.J. Yaari told the Sun Sentinel.
But Fort Lauderdale police told The Huffington Post that charges in the case are likely. Investigators have been looking into the incident since Coehlo gave a statement and declared he'd like to press charges.