It’s a restaurant’s worst nightmare.  Or any business for the matter.

Penny’s Diner III in Norwalk is in the center of one of the biggest social media storms of the month, and it may be  due to a hoax.

It all started when a Twitter account called @PennysNorwalk went to town with a racist rant about Harriet Tubman being on the new $20.

The account was quickly deleted, but not fast enough before someone hit alt + Prt Sc.  Immediately, the screenshots went viral.

Screenshot 1

Screenshot 2

Now, the big question is: was Penny’s framed or have they just entered into the culinary world’s equivalent of the Darwin Awards?  Nothing kills a stalwart New England business faster than a rancid glass of racism.

Then again, it is the Internet and people love to join in a good public roasting.  Concerned citizens are turning up in droves to chew Penny’s out by bombarding them with negative reviews on Yelp and Facebook.

They are also lighting up Penny’s phone and giving them a piece of their mind.  Most callers are, reportedly, from out of state.

There are also calls for a public boycott.

After dealing with so many Saudi Princes and false Facebook posts, like the one claiming that if we split the Powerball, every American would be $4.33 million richer, you’d think we’d use more self restraint when it comes to believing anything we see online.

Apparently not.  We the people have acted as judge, jury, and executioner.  Penny’s is guilty on all counts.

Because racism.

Have any of these people seen Catfish or To Catch a Predator?  Don’t they know how easy it is to pretend being someone else on the Internet?

The restaurant defended itself to Fox 61, saying that it couldn’t have been them because they don’t use the Internet to promote their business: no website and no social media.  The Facebook page associated with their restaurant is marked “unofficial.”

They also said that for a nearly 50-year-old establishment, they would have gone under a lot sooner if they ever supported such reviled views.

Police are actively investigating the incident and is searching for the responsible party.

If it was the restaurant, shame on them.

If it was a hoax, shame on those who fell for it – but it looks like the damage may have already been done.

What do you think? Comment below