Nevada County’s law enforcement launches GoFundMe after conspiracy theorists force Blue Marble Jubilee cancellation | TheUnion.com

Nevada County’s law enforcement launches GoFundMe after conspiracy theorists force Blue Marble Jubilee cancellation

Nevada City Police Chief Chad Ellis, left, Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon and Grass Valley Police Chief Alex Gammelgard say they'll eat a doughnut hole for every $100 raised for Grass Valley Charter School. (YouTube.com)

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To contribute to the school foundation: https://www.gofundme.com/grass-valley-charter-school-foundation

Last week, the news broke that a bizarre conspiracy theory being floated by QAnon had forced the Grass Valley School Foundation to cancel its major fundraiser.

Within days, the story went worldwide, with news outlets including the BBC and Rolling Stone reporting the discredited “plot” involving a tweet by former FBI Director James Comey.

But now, local law enforcement have taken steps to put a new, positive spin on the “sad” story, launching a GoFundMe fundraiser that pokes fun both at the conspiracy theorists and themselves.

Grass Valley Police Chief Alex Gammelgard, Nevada City Police Chief Chad Ellis and Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon co-star in a video promoting the fundraiser to help support the Grass Valley Charter School Foundation. In the video, the three take turns explaining how a “dreamt-up conspiracy theory” was found to not be credible, but caused the foundation to cancel its event “out of an abundance of caution.”

Comey in his tweet listed five jobs he’s held: Grocery store clerk; Vocal soloist for church weddings; Chemist; Strike-replacement high school teacher; and FBI director, interrupted. He used the hashtag #FiveJobsIveHad.

Conspiracy theorists found the word “Jihad” in the hashtag, and the acronym GVCSF (Grass Valley Charter School Foundation) in the first letters of Comey’s five jobs.

“At Nevada County Fairgrounds/On May 11, 2019 will be holding their ‘Blue Marble Jubilee’” someone added to the tweet.

People across the country began contacting the South Auburn Street school, claiming a link to the May 11 Blue Marble Jubilee and questioning whether the annual event faced threat of attack.

“That’s where their reality and ours collided,” Ellis says in the video.

By the time this “plot” was discredited, there just wasn’t time to keep the event scheduled, Gammelgard wrote on the fundraiser website.

“We are devastated by the impact on our festival,” said Wendy Willoughby, president of the Grass Valley Charter School Foundation, in a May 2 release. “We now find ourselves not only out the potential dollars raised at the event, but also the money already spent in preparation.”

The Blue Marble Jubilee usually makes between $20,000 and $25,000, funds that would have helped refurbish a multi-purpose room.

“The question then becomes, what about the kids and what about the school?” Ellis says in the video.

To give it a fun twist, the chiefs and the sheriff have promised to eat one doughnut hole for every $100 raised — on camera, streaming live. In the video, Moon jokes that if the number gets into the five-digit range, they will bring in backup from patrol staff.

“Let me tell you what’s not a conspiracy,” Ellis says. “The fact that I like doughnuts. I’ve never met a doughnut that I don’t like.”

The GoFundMe will run through June 7, the last day of school, and 100 percent of the money raised will go to the Grass Valley School Foundation.

“Join us in giving this bizarre story a happy ending,” the pitch ends.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lkellar@theunion.com.


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