If you’re a Star Wars fan, you’ll know that 4 May is kind of a big deal. The unofficial ‘May the Fourth Be with You’ holiday can inspire movie-watching, trivia nights, and, apparently, hysterical Facebook-shaming.
An Australian man was caught up in an overly-vigilant mom’s terror when he took a selfie in front of a Darth Vader “may the fourth be with you” cutout at a Melbourne Target store. He was taking the selfie – his first – to send his teenage kids. But the next thing he knew, the police wanted him for questioning and his picture, along with the caption of “OK people, take a look at this creep!” had been shared on Facebook almost 20,000 times by those looking to stop who they thought was a lurker – or worse, a pedophile.
How did this happen? Well, he made the mistake of telling a group of younger children nearby, who he thought were waiting for him to move, that he was just taking a pic to send to his 16-year-old. By which they thought he meant that he was taking a picture of them.
The kids told the mom, and the mom followed the man and snapped his pic as he was leaving the store. From there she posted it to Facebook and unleashed the social media masses on “the creep.”
He told the Daily Mail Australia (on condition of anonymity), that he and his children were devastated by the ordeal, after receiving death threats. He also was recognized by people in other parts of the country who called his partner. Eventually he turned himself into the police, who cleared him after extensive questioning and a phone analysis.
He said that he was considering his legal options.
“I'm a father of three kids and a normal human being... I've never taken a selfie before,” he said. “I was in two minds whether to take the selfie, but I thought it'll be a good daggy dad joke. In real terms it was embarrassing enough to be standing in front of Darth Vader to be honest.”
He added, “We're a very strong, community-minded family and we've never had any issue with any form of impropriety and all of a sudden my name is smeared.”
Detective acting inspector Allan Price from the Knox Police Service Area had some words of wisdom for everyone who uses social networks. He said: “We would encourage anyone in a similar situation to contact police and report the matter as opposed to turning to social media. Members of the public must not believe everything they read on personal social media pages and refer to reliable sources for their information such as the Victoria Police Facebook page or Victoria Police News.”
The woman has yet to apologize, according to the Daily Mail.