Casino Wharf FX Faces Public Scrutiny for Facebook Posts

Casino Wharf FX in Falmouth Heights
ENTERPRISE FILE PHOTO/DAN BROWN - Casino Wharf FX in Falmouth Heights

The Casino Wharf FX came under fire this week for a post on its Facebook page that insulted local bands, leading to two new Facebook pages, one calling for people to boycott the Falmouth Heights restaurant and another celebrating the Cape and all it has to offer.

The firestorm began on Friday evening when an administrator for the Casino Wharf’s Facebook page posted the following: “What a crazy night at the Casino wharf..downstairs is packed listening to the incredible “Bat” and up its Hypercane rocking the house.. Boston Bruins favorite band.. and the Casino ..where you see Quality Entertainment from Boston and beyond..not the local crap!”

Shortly thereafter Steven K. Moulton of Tasina Drive, Waquoit, came to the defense of Cape bands. “Hey, you shouldn’t call local bands ‘crap.’ I have and know several friends from The Cape that live here year round and support local businesses like yours,” he wrote. “As a businessman in town, I take offense to your post and have decided to ‘unlike’ your page...”

What followed was a heated exchange between Mr. Moulton and an unidentified Facebook administrator for the Casino Wharf who insulted everything from bands such as Flydown and Boombasnap to the Cape itself—“this is Cape Cod..WAY behind the rest of the world,” one line read—to competing restaurants including the neighboring British Beer Company to Cape Cod Community College.

The thread was quickly shared before the Casino Wharf posted an explanation the following day claiming that a former employee who was still an administrator of their Facebook page was responsible for the remarks. The Casino Wharf has since taken down its Facebook page although screen shots of the back-and-forth between Mr. Moulton and the restaurant still remain and can be viewed on a new Facebook page titled “Boycott Casino FX in Falmouth.” The page has 1,926 “likes” since being started by Ryan S. Buckley of Lakeview Avenue, Falmouth, on Saturday.

There visitors will see angry remarks, some bashing current management while others long for the Casino-By-The-Sea of the past, with one writing that former owner Bill Sweeney “is screaming louder now from his grave than he ever did inside that establishment ... and he did, lol ... over it’s historic years in the heights. ‘The Casino’ was built on ‘Local’.”

“This is Cape Cod..WAY behind the rest of the world,” one line read.

Yesterday Mr. Moulton said his initial comments were made “to stand up for local musicians. They should not be talking trash about local people and I wanted them to apologize for it.”

He and others were skeptical of the claims that a former employee made the comments. “You can see the person writing this is trying to promote their business and even did so the next day at 9 AM in the morning... It doesn’t make sense it is an ex-employee.”

Understanding Power of Social Media

Even if it were, he said, it is a lesson to the restaurant’s management to better monitor their social media presence. As owner of the Moulton Insurance Group he maintains a Facebook page, stressing that “I have to be extremely careful what I post on there.”

That lesson is now being learned by the Casino Wharf.

Mr. Buckley, a drummer in the band the Third Degree, was so taken aback by the comments made on the Casino Wharf’s Facebook page that he started the boycott page in response. “I’m really amazed at how the page has taken off,” he said of the support it has received as a rallying cry against the Falmouth Heights restaurant. “I just was basically acting on a whim because it pissed me off and I know about 60 other musicians who work full-time jobs, leave those jobs to go to band practice to learn new songs to play during the weekends... None of us are doing it to get rich. We just love music.”

Like others, he was also offended at the disparaging shots made against those living on Cape Cod as well as Cape Cod Community College. “I know a lot of great people who started out at Cape Cod Community College,” he said.

Combined, these insults have impassioned the local population and beyond, something Mr. Buckley understands. “I’ve never made any bones about liking the Cape,” he said. “I’m proud to be here in those January and February days when there’s barely anybody here and I’m proud to be here with the people who call it home.”

I’m proud to be here in those January and February days when there’s barely anybody here and I’m proud to be here with the people who call it home.

                                          Ryan Buckley

As to what he hopes to accomplish, Mr. Buckley is still unsure, although he is cognizant of the power his Facebook page can wield.

Ultimately, he is not looking to shut down the restaurant, realizing that it employs a number of people who rely on those jobs to make a living.

Still, he said, he was hopeful that management may look at some of its practices being unearthed in some of the comments being made. And he would like an apology for what was said this past weekend that hurt him and others living in Falmouth.

To that end Casino Wharf general manager Thomas Paulini was forthcoming, saying yesterday that “we are sincerely apologetic for those remarks. We did not make them, although it looks like we did and it was on our Facebook page. All we can do is be very apologetic and hopefully people will realize we would never say anything like that.”

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In an effort to atone for those comments, he said, management at the Casino Wharf is in the beginning stages of organizing an event “to show that anything that was said had nothing to do with us. We’d maybe do this in September or October though nothing has been decided yet. We’d like to give it some thought and try to mend fences that way.”

Casino is Dedicated to Community

He highlighted his restaurant’s involvement in the community, noting that it supports a number of groups seeking donations.

In terms of entertainment, he said, 70 percent of it is based on the Cape and southeastern Massachusetts.

Most of its 65 summertime employees and roughly 30 year-round employees, he said, live in Falmouth. Calls for a boycott, he said, would only hurt them and their families.

Mr. Paulini stressed that “we depend on this community. Even in the off-season we do menus where we deeply discount meals and do dinner for $1. We are very much in tune to working within and with the community so it doesn’t make sense for us to make those comments.”

He said the mistake the Casino Wharf made was not “keeping a closer handle on who had access to our Facebook page. We made a mistake and our Facebook page has been taken down.”

He anticipated that it will eventually return, at which point the administrative duties will be placed in the hands of one or two “administrators who know what they are doing or we may hire an actual social media consultant to do it for us.”

And, although Mr. Paulini understands the public’s anger, he said, it has gotten to the point where “there have now been threats on [Facebook] from what I understand... Some people are running around with this mob mentality and we need to be careful in that respect.”

To a degree that mentality has diminished. On the Facebook page Mr. Buckley started people have begun posting more positive comments listing the names of bands and businesses to support on Cape Cod.

And author T.M. Murphy, co-owner of the Silver Shores Shanty in Falmouth Heights, started a new Facebook page listed as “Cape Cod Proud” yesterday that has just under 700 “likes” and has begun highlighting the people and places that make the region unique. It is described in the following manner: “Cape Cod is filled with talented LOCAL musicians, artists, etc. We have some of the best restaurants run by nice LOCAL people. We also have Cape Cod Community College, that inspires young people to go for their dreams. This page celebrates Cape Cod!” 

To view the Boycott Casino FX Falmouth Facebook page click here.  To view the Cape Cod Proud Facebook page click here

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