Vice President Mike Pence set off a storm of criticism on the popular social media platform Twitter for breaking Mackinac Island’s century-old ban on motor vehicles. Michigan Twitter users were quick to voice their concern over the vice president’s motorcade with an anger that was only exacerbated after a viral tweet brought the event to national attention. Increasingly prominent figures weighed in. Rep. Rashida Tliab joined the chorus of detractors in her own tweet that described the event as making her “stomach turn.”
An unforeseen victim of this outrage was Shepler’s Ferry, one of the two ferry companies that service Mackinac Island. Shepler’s announced that they assisted the vice president’s motorcade in crossing the Straits of Mackinac, drawing a backlash from Twitter users upset that the company was complacent in the destruction of tradition.
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“It was our honor to transport the @VP’s emergency vehicles to Mackinac Island this weekend,” Shepler’s said. “Regardless of your political views, we hope you’ll understand the logistical intricacies involved in securing our leaders while visiting. We were happy to assist.”
Responses to the tweet ranged from admonishments to calls for a full-blown boycott against the ferry service.
“We’re mad you turned your back on the tradition of the island that is almost sacred to the people of our state,” said Twitter user @RiceFriski. You chose profits over the culture, traditions, and history of our people. That’s why people are mad at the Sheplers ferry co. (sic) You made a mistake, own it and improve”
Shepler’s attempted to diminish the pressure by bringing attention to their history of transporting vehicles to Mackinac Island for other press events in a follow up tweet.
“Lesser known fun fact for our Twitter friends that we thought we’d share. Exceptions always exist,” Shepler’s said. “Each year we proudly assist the media in bringing their vehicles to Mackinac Island for the annual @DetroitChamber Policy Conference. Our freight work is always an adventure!”
Shepler’s intends to continue servicing Michiganders despite the backlash and are working to respond directly to the most aggressive tweets, even offering personal conversations with their president Chris Shepler to answer any questions that critics might have.
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