A Weird Internet Story For Your Faith in Humanity

How an all-in-good-fun feud between two rival Facebook pages resulted in some all-in-fun good for the community
THE CITY OF Bentonville and The City of Rogers had a beef, and everyone on Facebook knew it. A storm was coming. The salty-tongued insults and verbal cannonballs that were being lobbed back and forth in the comment threads grew from a trickle to a deluge, with new voices joining the feud in droves. Allegiances were declared, lines drawn in the sand.

Eventually, the quarrel grew so large that it was decided the dispute could only be settled by engaging in fisticuffs. A date was set and a battleground named: Dec. 7, 2018, at the Bentonville water tower. A Facebook event was created, and 11,000 people responded to the call.

Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the mayors or city councils of two prominent Northwest Arkansas towns behaving so unscrupulously on a public forum like Facebook—let alone scheduling an unmannered street brawl—might be a serious affront to the dignity of municipal government. But of course, that’s assuming any of this could be taken seriously.

Actually, the tongue-in-cheek dispute between the pair of parody Facebook pages began as anything but serious. But by the time the sun had set on Dec. 7, the now infamous “Fight at the Water Tower” had actually resulted in quite a bit of good for the community (and zero violence!), thanks in large part to Stephannie Lane Baker and Christian Kunnecke—a duo known as the Charity Pirates due to their “hijacking” of the event and turning it into a drive to benefit area folks in need.

Ultimately, the Charity Pirates and the anonymous individuals behind “The City of Bentonville” page were able to collect 5,339 food items, over 300 toys, 300-plus new coats, more than 200 used coats and well over $6,000 to benefit organizations like the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County, Samaritan Community Center in Rogers and the First Christian Church & Waterway of Bentonville’s Miracle on 14th Street charity. As a result of the event’s success, the two city pages appear to have put their differences behind them … Or at least until next year’s Fight at the Water Tower.

Interested in supporting the Charity Pirates’ next venture? Hear from Christian and Stephannie on Feb. 9 at the next micro-granting dinner from 2018 Arkansans of the Year Bentonville SOUP. Visit bentonvillesoup.com to register for the event.