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Online threat leads to cancellation of Blue Marble Jubilee

Grass Valley Charter School has canceled its annual Blue Marble Jubilee, citing online threats that local police call not credible.

Online conspiracy theorists point to a tweet by former FBI Director James Comey, claiming a link to the May 11 Blue Marble Jubilee and questioning whether the annual event faces threat of attack.

The Saturday tweet by Comey led people across the country to contact the South Auburn Street school, Grass Valley Police Sgt. Brian Blakemore said.

“It’s really based on the strange, rambling conspiracy theories of this guy,” he added. “It’s all a bunch of nonsense.”

Organizers of the event said they’ve been in contact with local law enforcement this week, noting authorities determined the threat was unfounded and poses no threat. However, school officials and event organizers opted on Thursday to cancel the event “out of an abundance of caution.”

“Of course, there is no question about putting safety first, however, we are devastated by the impact on our festival,” said Wendy Willoughby, president of the Grass Valley Charter School Foundation, in a release. “Not only is it disappointing that the cancellation of this event deprives the families of our school and community a day of fun and connection, but the Blue Marble Jubilee also serves as a fundraiser. We now find ourselves not only out the potential dollars raised at the event, but also the money already spent in preparation.”

Willoughby said expenses for the event total around $10,000. The Blue Marble Jubilee, which was to have occurred for the third time, usually makes between $20,000 and $25,000.

It’s unknown how much of the expenses organizers must pay.

Pre-sold ticket holders will receive refunds next week. Those who want to donate can give money at http://www.bluemarblejubilee.org.

According to Willoughby, funds raised at the jubilee would have helped refurbish a multi-purpose room.


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.

Several people have tweeted about the theory, mentioning Grass Valley Charter School. One man claiming he’s in Juneau has a nine-minute YouTube video discussing Comey’s tweet.

“The whole thing is really quite sad,” Blakemore said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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