A Bay Area woman who was caught in a right-wing media firestorm after she publicly berated an elderly man for wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat in a Palo Alto Starbucks has apparently voluntarily disappeared.
Rebecca Parker Mankey, 46, made a right-wing target of herself earlier this month when she approached and verbally attacked 74-year-old Victor [last name withheld] for his hat choice. As KTVU reported on the April 1 incident, Mankey allegedly yelled, "Hey everybody come here! This guy's a racist! This guy hates brown people!" She proceeded to defend her action on Facebook, writing, "I yelled at him about how it was not okay to hate brown people. I called him more names and told him to call the police. He wouldn’t call the police so I called him a wimp, yelling at him to get the [expletive] out of my town. I’m going to publicly shame him in town and try to get him fired... He will never forget me and will think seriously about wearing that hat in my town ever again."
The story, naturally, bubbled up to national Fox News broadcasts and spread far and wide.
Mankey became the target of death threats and a legion of Trump-supporting internet trolls in recent weeks, and even her longtime friend and employer at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto says he had to distance himself from her, and fire her. As the store's owner Richard Johnston told KTVU, he chose to fire Mankey, whom he'd known since grade school, after receiving multiple nasty calls and messages at the store. "We’ve always felt that Gryphon was the equivalent of kind of a musical town square for the community," Johnston told the station. "And we welcome people of all views."
A group that Mankey was co-chair of, Bayshore Progressive Democrats, also asked her to step down. The group wrote on Facebook:
Parker felt strongly that she wanted to use her privilege as a white woman to stand up for those who are living in fear because of the hateful atmosphere fostered by Trump. Unfortunately the manner in which she chose to stand up against a slogan that stands for racism led to an even stronger hateful response that has endangered her and her family.
As the Mercury News now reports, Mankey went missing late last week after visiting a friend in Lake County, and missing-person posters have gone up in Lake County despite the fact that authorities believe Mankey is likely safe and simply voluntarily gone off the grid to avoid more negative attention and threats.
Rebecca Parker Mankey, the Palo Alto activist who lost her job after berating a man in a Make America Great Again hat at Starbucks, was reported missing yesterday after she didn’t return home from a trip to Lake County. https://t.co/o7rhdgzg8d— Allison Levitsky (@Levitskyyy) April 20, 2019
According to Fox News, the friend Mankey was visiting voiced sincere concern for her on Facebook, saying, "It's been over 24 hours since anyone has seen or heard from her... Parker if you're reading this: we love you so so much and we just want to know you're safe. Please let us know you're okay!"
The reaction across conservative Twitter has been one of amusement. As one Twitter user who goes by the handle Armed Deplorable writes, "Rebecca Parker Mankey gets what she deserves as she has to hide out. Hopefully it will help her to feel what conservatives go through when they express their beliefs."