Proposed TN Bill Would Prosecute Those Leaving Fake Reviews Online

Photo Credit: Spooky’s Pizza & Grill / Facebook

The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

Cancel culture has spawned many a “retaliation review” for businesses that refuse to kowtow to unreasonable or illogical mandates since 2020. This petty reality may soon be a thing of the past as a Tennessee bill aims to make leaving a fake review online a misdemeanor.

On Wednesday, Republican State Representative David Byrd (District 71) filed HB1664 in the Tennessee General Assembly. Under the Tennessee Code which defines unfair or deceptive acts, this bill would create a Class B misdemeanor resulting in a maximum of 6 months in jail and fines up to $500.

The bill defines an offense as “posting a review on the internet about a business that is factually false with the intent to defraud the public.”

In this current age of covid, businesses that prefer liberty over lockdowns and smiling faces over masks have encountered the wrath of pandemic Pharisees who choose to shame those who stand up to meaningless mandates.

Spooky’s Pizza and Grill in Murfreesboro found themselves battling an onslaught of this type of negative review during the first months of the pandemic.

Joe Peters, owner of Spooky’s, made a post on his Facebook business page back in August 2020 in which he explained why Spooky’s employees were not wearing masks during a Rutherford country mask mandate. The post was viewed by more than 35 thousand people, and generated thousands of hateful posts, instant messages and emails. Threatening phone calls soon followed, along with complaints to the Health Department and Mayor. 

Prior to that post, Peters reports that Spooky’s social media ratings were nearly perfect. “Ratings we earned by providing outstanding food and customer service for four and half years.” Those ratings “plummeted overnight as hundreds of negative reviews flooded in from individuals who had never set foot inside our restaurant. Our family business was in the crosshairs of the “cancel” culture.”


Peters described the negative reviews as “slanderous attacks executed by cowards behind keyboards. This mob of woke and misguided misfits were using social media in a concerted effort to destroy our reputation. They were free to write anything they chose with zero accountability or consequences.”

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When asked what he thought of the proposed law Peters said, “I am 100% in favor of a law[s] that may cause someone to reconsider slandering a hardworking business on social media. Steep financial penalties would also cause people to think before they post! Social media reviews do not define our business. However, people do rely on social media to locate a new place to dine. Reading untrue and hateful posts may cost a restaurant a new customer for all the wrong reasons. In addition, social media outlets should be held accountable for allowing individuals to attack businesses with hateful remarks and lies. I have filed countless complaints concerning negative and untrue posts written by people who have never spent a dime inside Spooky’s. Facebook and Google are notorious for sending back a canned response that says no policy has been violated so the post will remain.”

Because of Spooky’s loyal customer base, they doubled their sales volume in the first year of the pandemic. Peters said others were not as fortunate. “Business after business closed their doors forever.” 


About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at

4 thoughts on “Proposed TN Bill Would Prosecute Those Leaving Fake Reviews Online

  • January 10, 2022 at 9:23 pm

    That is against the 1st amendment. If there is libel or slander then just sue! We are acting like liberal loonies.

  • January 10, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    He doesn’t have time to “sue” each person nor could he afford it. I see this as yelling “fire” in a movie theatre. I see this no different than CNN talking about the young boy and the fake Indian. It’s malicious and intent. Not just incorrect or disagreeing. Falsifying your story to the cops is intentional and can be penalized and this should too.

    • January 13, 2022 at 6:18 am

      No. It is tyrannical and policing speech. Just because you’re on the right don’t mean you right about this. Nobody shielded from criticism whether you on the left or right. I stand by my original comment come at somebody liables or Slanders you then sue them. And nobody have time for Tennessee criminalizing speech by attaching them to attempt to defraud the public. We think because we are in the conservative state that lot of our representatives are conservative. no. they’re just as insane as the left. This bill needs to be killed in the committee. The Covid freedom bills need to pass the committee and Randy McNally his leadership need to be voted out along with Bill Lee.

  • January 11, 2022 at 2:02 am

    For all those people who want to live in medical tyranny, there are plenty of libtard states that you can move to. Leave our free states alone. We don’t need you; we need more real American patriots who embrace freedom, not Marxism.


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