Nevada authorities are reportedly considering taking legal action against Facebook over the “Storm Area 51” event taking place this week that was organized on the social media platform. One event producer said, “Good luck with that. Facebook—I mean you might as well go after the Queen of England.”
Gizmodo reports that local authorities are becoming increasingly worried about a Facebook event set to take place this week called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” and are reportedly considering taking legal action against Facebook to cover the $250,000 that Rachel, Nevada, plans to spend to prepare for the potential mass influx of visitors.
The event was created by Matty Roberts on June 27 as a joke but has since gone viral and evolved into a festival called Alienstock. The festival is planned for September 19 until the 22 at the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, Nevada, near the Area 51 base. But a few days before the event was set to happen, Roberts backed out stating on his website that he and organizers “foresee a possible humanitarian disaster in the works” and after considering “the lack of infrastructure, planning, and risk management, along with concerns raised for the safety of the expected 10,000+ attendees, we decided to transition Alienstock away from the Rachel festival towards a safer alternative.”
The safer event is an “Area 51 Celebration” that is set to take place this week at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. But, Connie West, the owner of Little A’Le’Inn has made it clear that she plans to host her own Alienstock despite receiving a cease-and-desist letter from Robert’s attorney ordering her to stop using the name “Alienstock.”
Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee told Gizmodo that people have already started arriving at A’Le’Inn for the event. Lee stated: “I’m not happy about it because you’re looking at a county that does not have a lot of financial resources and this could potentially cost the county. The county could still be spending upwards of a quarter of a million dollars and that’s not including the salaries of all these 300-plus first responders that are coming here.”
“Matty Roberts is the one that started this on Facebook. So our district attorney, his opinion is that Matty Roberts and Facebook stand to be partially to blame for this” Lee told Gizmodo. “He’s already told people that this is quote-unquote ‘His event.’ He told some of the other event promoters that this was his event. And so I guess if it’s his event and he’s taken ownership of it then we know where legal action should go toward. I’m not an attorney but that is what Lincoln County district attorney is saying.”
Event producer Frank DiMaggio who partnered with Roberts for the event seemed unfazed by the threat of legal action stating: “Good luck with that. Facebook—I mean you might as well go after the Queen of England. As far as going after Matty or the promoters: So here’s the deal—if you’re going to be offering 250-plus emergency responders for an event, why not just cancel the event? They offered the permit. They permitted it. Now they’re saying, ‘Oh look what you made us do.’”
Authorities have claimed that they felt issuing permits was the only way to control the huge influx of individuals that will arrive due to the popularity of the Storm Area 51 meme. Lincoln County planning department director Cory Ltyle told KVVU that granting the permits was the “lesser of two evils.”