A Melbourne man has been hounded off social media after “dobbing in” kids selling drinks from a stall during coronavirus lockdown, suggesting the council send “someone down there”.
The man, who has since deleted his Twitter account, posted a photo over the weekend of two young boys sitting at a makeshift stall fashioned from an ironing board, selling cans of soft drink and lollies.
“Group of lads selling sweets and drinks for cash in Ramsden Reserve, during stage four lockdown is pretty silly in my humble opinion,” he said in the post, which tagged the Yarra Council Twitter handle.
“Maybe worth sending someone down there? They didn’t listen to me. Along the Yarra Trail walking track.”
The post drew hundreds of angry responses, with many criticising him for showing the children’s faces.
“OMG, arrest them immediately. Selling soft drinks and lollies on a sunny spring day, how dare they,” one person wrote.
Another said, “A grown man dobbing on a couple of kids for doing something completely harmless and posting their photo online is pretty silly in my humble opinion.”
Herald Sun columnist Rita Panahi linked to the tweet, writing, “Look at this hero dobbing in a couple of kids for supposedly breaking lockdown restrictions.”
Panahi noted the “same guy was cheering on 10,000 BLM protesters marching during a pandemic”, sharing a screenshot of an earlier post showing photos of the Melbourne protests with the caption “solidarity”.
In another post from April, the man tweeted at Premier Daniel Andrews a photo of people lining up at a Mr Whippy ice cream van in Abbotsford.
“Curious to know if this is OK in the current climate?” he wrote. “Promoting little clusters of people and handing out without gloves or a mask.”
His Twitter account appears to have been deactivated following the backlash.
He did not respond to a request for comment.
Yarra Council directed enquiries to Victoria Police, who directed enquiries to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“While we appreciate the entrepreneurial endeavours of these young Victorians, selling drinks and treats at an outdoor stand is not permitted under the current restrictions,” a DHHS spokeswoman said.
Under current restrictions, Victorians can only leave their home for four reasons – shopping for food or other essential items, exercise, permitted work, or for caregiving, compassionate reasons or medical treatment.
Last month, a Melbourne playwright came under similar attack on social media after posting about calling the police on his neighbours for having a birthday party.
“I just saw some people arriving at a neighbour’s house for a birthday party – carrying presents and food/drinks. Do I report them?” he wrote on Twitter.
In a follow-up tweet, he wrote, “Yes, I reported them. Had to go back and get the exact address. They are a couple of streets away. Looked like other visitors had also arrived, when I walked past again.”
At the time, one person replied that “this is why we will lose all our freedoms – because if most people are given a choice between freedom and the pleasure of snitching on others, they will choose snitching”.