School fundraiser ruined by Twitter conspiracy involving James Comey’s ‘secret code’

GRASS VALLEY, CA (KTXL/CNN) - The power of social media shelved a school fundraiser in California scheduled for Saturday.

The entire uproar began from - of all things - a tweet from former FBI Director James Comey.

"Once it got out there, especially on Twitter, it spread like a wildfire," said Kathy Dotson, one of the fundraiser's organizers.

Dotson and Wendy Willoughby co-produce the annual Blue Marble Jubilee held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

It's an event that was supposed to raise about $25,000 for Grass Valley Charter School, until conspiracy theorists made sure the jubilee wouldn't happen this year.

"They believed this tweet by former FBI Director James Comey was actually a secret message, and they needed to de-code that message," Willoughby said.

Comey was taking part in the "five jobs I've had" hashtag.

The first letters of the five jobs were pulled out to spell GVCSF, which some took to mean the Grass Valley Charter School Foundation.

From there, people on social media quickly latched on to the upcoming jubilee.

"(They) felt that his secret message was telling his followers - James Comey this is - to target our festival, and that something horrible was going to happen at our little, tiny-tiny festival in rural Northern California," Willoughby said.

Never mind that the information put out on social media was baseless - thousands upon thousands became engaged with it on several platforms. The Blue Marble Jubilee organizers felt it was just too much of a risk for the fundraiser to go on.

Dotson said she didn't want to see this kind of thing happen again to any event, school or town.

“To have these folks twist that and make it as though they are the ones doing good?” Willoughby said. “I wish there was a way we could show them that all they did was push out hate and fear and division and heartbreak.”

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