‘Boycott Hawaii’ war erupts on Twitter
Hawaii won in court over the travel ban Wednesday but found itself in the midst of a social media firestorm Thursday as #BoycottHawaii went viral on Twitter.
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Hawaii won in court over the travel ban Wednesday but found itself in the midst of a social media firestorm Thursday as #BoycottHawaii went viral on President Donald Trump’s favorite platform, Twitter.
The hashtag #BoycottHawaii exploded on Twitter after an angry Trump told a rally in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday night that the ruling by U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson in Honolulu to temporarily block the president’s revised travel ban would make the U.S. weaker.
Describing it as “terrible” and “an unprecedented judicial overreach,” Trump vowed to appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The #BoycottHawaii hashtag continued to trend on Twitter on Thursday night, as Trump supporters and opponents sparred over making the islands pay for Watson’s decision.
Hawaii tourism officials said they were hoping the whole thing would blow over.
“Hopefully, people will see through it for what it is,” said George Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Szigeti said most people around the world know Hawaii is a diverse, welcoming state.
If there are any impacts from the #BoycottHawaii campaign, he said, they haven’t been felt yet.
Mufi Hannemann, head of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, said officials will have to monitor the boycott’s effects carefully.
“That being said, however, we’ve seen that some of the recent boycott movements, such as with Nordstrom, Netflix and ‘Hamilton,’ have not negatively affected the bottom line and in some cases have even had a positive impact,” Hannemann said in an email.
“We’ve seen that many of these viral trends are not long-lasting, and we hope that, if anything, this momentary spotlight on Hawaii will remind visitors that we are a great and safe vacation destination.”
State Attorney General Doug Chin, who filed the case against Trump’s travel ban, agreed in a statement released Thursday:
“Hawaii hosts millions of visitors from around the world every year. I hope this ruling will help people feel even more welcome to come here. While the attack on Pearl Harbor means that national security is always foremost in our minds, we also know security can be ensured without discrimination.”
In the virtual world, meanwhile, travel ban supporter “Deplorable Laura” tweeted, “Dear Hawaii, I will never spend another vacation in your state again!” while Theresa_Cali wrote, “Just switched my vacation plans! Heading east instead! Key West, FL here we come!”
But the campaign unleashed a torrent of jokes and ridicule in response. Kaivan Shroff tweeted, “Hawaii just became the luckiest state in the union. I wish Trumpsters would boycott my state too,” while Twitter user @Impeach_D_Trump added, “#BoycottHawaii You realize you can’t get there in a pickup truck right?”
Even U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, weighed in with his own tweet that included a Hawaiian hashtag meaning “welcome”: “#boycotthawaii is the dumbest thing on the Internet. That is all. #ekomomai.”
Ryan Ozawa found himself at the center of the Twitter storm shortly after the ruling was announced Wednesday afternoon.
Ozawa, co-host of Hawai‘i Public Radio’s Bytemarks Cafe, who also owns the Twitter handle @hawaii, was bombarded with hundreds of tweets expressing both joy and disgust. He said he hasn’t responded to many of the rants.
“The exception would probably be the now notorious tweet that Hawaii doesn’t get it because we were so far away from 9/11. Fortunately, the whole internet joined me in reminding the guy about our own attack in 1941 … and the injustice that followed with Japanese-American internment,” he said.
Ozawa said he expects the Twitter storm to spiral for another day or two — the usual life span of social media rage, backlash and finally backlash against the backlash.
Ozawa said he opposes the travel ban.
“I’m proud of Attorney General Chin for defending the Constitution and demonstrating why our democracy is set up the way it is,” he said. “I love that a Chinese- American AG won a case against this White House on behalf of a Syrian American before a Native Hawaiian judge in the home state of the first African-American president of our country. It couldn’t have been more perfect.”