James Comey tweet taken by conspiracy theorists as veiled warning of terror attack leads to school fundraiser cancellation

/ CBS News

Grass Valley, Calif. — A charter school fundraiser set for this weekend in the Sierra foothills north of Sacramento was canceled last week after social media posts by conspiracy theorists looking at a tweet from former FBI Director James Comey connected the event to a possible terror attack, reports CBS Sacramento. Law enforcement confirmed the far-fetched threats described in the posts weren't credible.

Event organizers said they decided to scrap the event out of an abundance of caution.

The third annual "Blue Marble Jubilee" was expected to draw big crowds with live music at the Nevada County Fairgrounds to raise money for the Grass Valley Charter School.

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But then Comey posted a tweet to the #FiveJobsIveHad series:

#FiveJobsIveHad 1. Grocery store clerk
2. Vocal soloist for church weddings
3. Chemist
4. Strike-replacement high school teacher
5. FBI Director, interrupted

— James Comey (@Comey) April 27, 2019

A deep-state conspiracy theorist dissected the tweet and came up with an acronym from Comey's "five jobs" that are the same as the initials in the Grass Valley Charter School Foundation: GVCSF.

That conspiracy theorist then found letters in the hashtag that spelled "jihad" — Five JobsIveHad — and posted about them on social media.

The alarming message spread among conspiracy theorists.

"In the current political and social climate, schools and communities must take into consideration matters never before imagined," the festival's organizers said in a statement announcing the jubilee wouldn't be held.

"Insane," Grass Valley Charter School Foundation President Wendy Willoughby remarked to CBS Sacramento. "This is ridiculous."

"Nobody should have to live in this kind of environment," Grass Valley Charter School parent Kathy Foster said.

Willoughby and Foster are co-producers of the jubilee.

"It's ridiculous and something you sort of you want to laugh it off as something that doesn't have a lot of merit," Willoughby observed.

"Disbelief, in many facets," Willoughby said. "Number one, that this could be happening to us in a tiny little town."

"These theories, although based in no reality or fact or evidence, can often drive unstable people to do really dangerous things," Willoughby noted.

She told The Sacramento Bee the school was hit by a slew of inquiries from Nevada County and across the country. "We had a combination of followers trying to find if we were legitimate and others who follow this madness and were concerned. They felt we were being targeted by Comey and that they alerted us to the disastrous event that would befall the festival," Willoughby said. "Many put up videos (or) went to photos on our website – there were photos of our children. It became very personal, very frightening."

CBS Sacramento says the jubilee was expected to bring in $20,000 – $25,000.

First published on May 10, 2019 / 6:08 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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