KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The owner of The Blue Line bar believes internet trolls are posting fake one-star reviews on the bar's Facebook page because his wife is an immigrant who was recently deported.
"There are just people out there that feel they can just spread hate, and you know, it's a matter of how you deal with it," said Steve Stegall.
Steve Stegall, owner of @thebluelinekc , says fake accounts with no profile info posted one-star reviews on the bar’s Facebook. He says they’re targeting the bar bc his wife recently got deported. On @41actionnews at 6. pic.twitter.com/MZJfw2GYqo
— Sarah Plake (@SarahPlakeTV) August 3, 2018
Stegall, who owns The Blue Line hockey bar in River Market, says he's not going to let internet trolls ruin his business or his family's life.
"I think we got eight one-stars and four or five of them were all in that one day. Boom, boom, boom, boom," Stegall said.
He said fake accounts with no profile information are posting made-up terrible reviews on the bar's Facebook page.
Stegall said the blank accounts showed they're from India, Malibu, and Dallas. He doubts whoever is behind the screen has ever stepped foot in the bar.
"I think they are just bashing us because you know, we're standing up for immigrants and we're standing up for what's happened to our family and other families just like us," said Stegall.
One of the most important members of the Blue Line family is gone. Stegall's wife, Letty, was deported to her native Mexico in March.
Letty got a DUI six years ago, which started a removal process. She was targeted in an ICE round-up; agents arresting her as she headed to the gym. Despite a federal court order from a judge, she was deported anyway.
Stegall said one of the one-star reviews came from a man's Facebook account. Screenshots show him claiming to have called ICE to the bar, saying he wants to "clean the illegal scum off these Midwest streets." Another screenshot shows him claiming to have been banned from the bar.
Stegall said Facebook has since removed those reviews, but one alleged there were "feces" all over the bathroom. Stegall said he challenged the post, asking where the bathrooms are at.
"They'll say, 'Oh, where's your wife at? When are you going to be able to see her again?' And make these little pokes at you," said Stegall.
Although the fake posts are gone, the eight one-stars remain.
Letty made the bar a fun place. Stegall said that's why they're a staple in the neighborhood.
"They miss her. When you walk in that door you are now Blue Line family and she treated everyone like that," he said.
Letty had a birthday party recently and got to celebrate with friends and bar patrons via video chat.
Stegall said he and Letty's daughter, Jennifer, have a lot of support.
As for the fakes, Stegall isn't worried at all.
"You know, we try to push it aside because we got one thing on our agenda, and that's getting Letty back home," said Stegall.
The family is hoping because they're married, Letty can come back to the U.S. after two years.