A new Massachusetts hotline for residents to report violations of COVID-19 safety standards has been flooded by calls and emails that include profanity-laden tirades against Gov. Charlie Baker and a picture of a man’s penis.
The hotline, part of a state compliance portal that encourages residents to report businesses violating safety orders to the Department of Labor Standards, received over 900 responses in the first week after it launched in mid-July, according to MassLive.
Many were disgruntled customers complaining about workers failing to wear face masks, or wearing them improperly. Dunkin’ franchises figured prominently, MassLive reported, with complaints targeting 18 doughnut shop locations.
The majority of calls and emails were legitimate grievances, officials said. A “small fraction,” however, sought to send other messages. Some ranted against Baker (R) as a “Republican In Name Only” who failed to wear a mask during his media briefings. Others targeted Black Lives Matter protests. One was a dick pic sent on the day the hotline opened from a mysterious account named “Good German.”
The Department of Labor Standards said it aims to follow up on the complaints within 72 hours. But the initial volume was so heavy that it sent an automated reply to many complainants.
Other states and cities also have established coronavirus hotlines ― some with similar results. In April, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s appeal asking New Yorkers to photograph and report social distancing violations drew comparisons with Hitler, complaints that he was ignoring his own rules and a photo that unhelpfully instructed the mayor to “eat a bag of dicks.”
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